Wordle Quiz

wordle obs car You can’t get away from word clouds by now. Tags, authors and names get pasted into swirls and displayed in patterns everywhere. The presidential and vice-presidential debates were followed immediately by a pictorial analysis of the words most frequently used by each contender. So my subject is not a particularly original thing to write about.
But some time ago I came upon a page called Wordle where you can generate word clouds by pasting in text or linking to a website with an RSS feed.
I thought it would be interesting to learn something about the way I wrote myself and so I pasted in the English text from my book The Observation Car. The result is here on the left.  For those who are new to word clouds it might be worth pointing out that the higher the frequency of a word in a given text the bigger it will appear in the word cloud. “One” seems to be my favourite word, though it is so common and can be used in so many ways that I think it could have been filtered out along with “and”, “a”, “the”, “which”, etc.  “Two” and “three” also get a fair share of hits, but then my numbers peter out, though “five” puts up a shy hand.
I should obviously put up a sign on the wall behind my computer to remind me how prone I am to using “just” and “like”.
I find it interesting that going through the arrangement of words as you would pick up nails or beans scattered on a floor, it seems to come natural to put together clumps of pidgin haiku fragments.

Stare sounds, glass city

Rain made three go away, another keep shoes. Klaxx ! Bang !

Umbrellas stand behind waiting

Door faces seem oh !

Sit like air.

And you could generate lots of different ways of doing this, because one really interesting thing with Wordle is that you can play with an array of different fonts and layouts. You can either select them yourself or let the program run at random. Here for example are three different ways of assembling a bicycle. The words are the same, the patterns are different.

wordle bike awordle bike 2wordle bike 3


There are all kinds of possible ways for using this tool. You could insert all of your e-mails on a monthly basis and see whether any change of prevailing feeling occurs during the year. You could outspeed speed reading and dump a whole book in and pretend to absorb its general gist. But one thing I haven’t seen done and which could be fun to develop is a word cloud quiz. See if you can work out what the following are. For starters I have chosen things which are extremely (at least in my opinion) easy.  One may be more difficult and the last one is in French and only for people who have read the book this passage is taken from in the original (though there is one give-away word),  but I really liked  the way it turned out and couldn’t help but include it.

wordle quiz 1wordle quiz 2wordle quiz 4wordle quiz dwordle quiz tctafmwordle quiz french

If you have any doubts, I will give you some dates:
1-     some time between 1599 and 1601
2-    1963
3-    1965
4-    1848
5-    1937
6-    1959

Click on black square for answers


And finally here is the word cloud for the article you have just read:

wordle end

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