Monday, June 26, 2006

"Wasting" and "Time" are 8,458 and 66, Respectively

I’m legitimately sorry for what I’m about to inflict on you -- namely, many hours tied up in a pretty simple web site. E.J. over at the Olive Reader -- my sister blog, in the way that nations have sister nations (we swap exchange students and stuff) -- posted today about Word Count, a site that lists, in easily searchable fashion, the 86,800 most frequently used words in the English language. In order.

“The” is first, and so on.

Pessimism is 20,386. Optimism is 7,960. That’s refreshing.

Peanut is 24,806. Butter is 4,091. I would have thought they’d be closer together.

This blog’s title, represented by the rank of each word, is represented thus:
5, 419, 96, 2, 109, 1716
Just for the exercise, I wanted to try to make a sentence (or two or three) out of 40 words -- the 20 most common and the 20 least common. So I set down the top 20: the, of, and, to, a, in, that, it, is, was, I, for, on, you, he, be, with, as, by, at.

Lots of ballast there.

Then I set down the last 20: conquistador, recrossed, workless, carniola, tangency, multilingualism, lauro, golgotha, homemakers, savills, tella, blick, inro, historiarum, moyne, criers, allocatively, chalkis, sibomana, tarrow.

Ruh-roh. At least 10 of those words look like Jupiterese to me.

And now I know what you’re thinking: What the hell is wrong with me, that I would be looking up these ridiculous things and creating these pointless exercises I'll never finish? Well, go to the site and then see how superior you are. I dare you.



Anonymous Pirates are dreadly said...

Most of those words in the last 20 are not actuall words. Or at least not according to Damn you Williams. Somehow I hold you responsible.

3:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a flailing attempt to find reassurance of my job security from the word count website (I did say "flailing," after all) I submit:
book #357
read #406
literacy #34,918
philistine #918
I hope no one ruins my fragile web of security by looking up sitcom, video game, or website.
-- Tavia

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! The one that baffles me on the least-common word list is "homemaker".... Wasn't there a ditty on an old childrens' TV show that went: "which of these words just doesn't belong???" I mean, I suppose it's less in circulation than it was in the 50's, but c'mon....pretty common, no? "Good Housekeeping" is still in publication, after all (much to my amazement and horror).--jpw

3:15 PM  

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