Various online tools can tell you a thing or two about the vocabulary used in a particular text. To provide a concrete example of how these work, I’m using a piece from the Economist on the legacy of the Bretton Woods Agreements.
Wordle clouds seem to be everywhere these days, and perhaps it’s not surprising when you consider how neat yet simple a tool Wordle is. Copy and paste text and Wordle processes it, removing common function words, and counting the frequency of lexical items. It then produces a visual “cloud” of words, each sized according to their frequency within the text. Designs can be randomised or tweaked until they meet the user’s approval, after which they can be printed to PDF, saved and linked to, or embedded in a website, like this:
As well as being very pretty, Wordle clouds have a nice application in class: students can be shown a cloud in order to predict content before reading, and if any prominent words are completely unknown, they can be checked and discussed prior to any sight of the original text. Continue reading “Tools for analysing vocabulary within texts”
I’ve just started an experiment which I’ll log within this post. Now that Google Music Play is on Sonos, I thought I’d give it a whirl. I like Spotify and was happily converted a year or so ago, enticed by a collaborative playlist created for a weekend away in a cottage, but I’m very anal about music and the gaps on Spotify do bother me. I’ve imported lots of old playlists from iTunes, and typically 5 out of 40 tracks will fail to play. Now, since I’ve already paid for these songs (mostly in non digital format and ripped to iTunes), I’m not too impressed with a service that charges me £10 a month for admittedly brilliant access to lots of other stuff but which won’t let me play the music I OWN. If I could upload all of my bought music to a cloud to which only I have access, Spotify would be perfect. But I can’t, so it’s not. Google Music Play allows me to upload 20,000 tracks. I’ve got more than that, but have settled for a “canon” of around 11,000. A decent start, although being petty and anal I would prefer to be able to upload *everything* I own and curate later. But let’s see how this goes. I have a month’s trial with Google, so let’s see if it can convert me in 30 days.
Continue reading “Google Music Play v Spotify”
I like Jon Ronson. I never realised quite how fascinating a person he is until his recent appearance on the Richard Herring Leicester Square Theatre Podcast (RHLSTP!)
After that interview I started following Ronson on Twitter, and yesterday he appeared on my timeline with a series of tweets that move from curiosity to despair in under a thousand characters:
Continue reading “Reading a story tweet by tweet”