Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2017 Fund Drive.

Media: New York Times: The Word Crunchers

Submitter: Karen Chung

Submitter Email:
Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics

Media Body: Essay: The Word Crunchers
Published: June 5, 2005

In David Lodge's 1984 novel, 'Small World,' a literature professor fond
of computer programming presents a novelist with a fantastic discovery: by
entering all the novelist's books into a computer, the professor can
determine the novelist's favorite word. The computer knows to ignore the
mortar of sentences -- articles, prepositions, pronouns -- to get to 'the
real nitty-gritty,' Lodge writes, 'words like love or dark or heart or
God.' But the computer's conclusion causes the novelist to shrink from ever
writing again. His favorite word, it finds, is 'greasy.'...

Free registration required to access article.

Karen Chung
Issue Number: 16.1771
Date Posted: June 06, 2005