WordCount™ – artistic presentation of information

Here is is a challenge for you literate bloggers. How long will it take you to come up with a word that is not one of the 86,800 most frequently used words in the English language?

You can test your vocabulary using the elegantly designed interface to Wordcount™.

It took me about 7 tries before I found a word that the system did not have on file. Aferwards, I thought I might exceed the limits more quickly by entering slang terms or some of George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words.” Such is not the case, as they are among the most commonly used words in our language.

Using Wordcount could be addictive. The longer I played with it, the more insights I gained about our language and my vocabulary.

WordCount is an artistic experiment that presents the 86,800 most frequently used (British) English words, ranked in order of commonality. You can enter your choice of word or you can enter a ranking. Either choice will reveal new information about the language you use to communicate.

WordCount was designed and developed by Jonathan Harris of Number27, in conjunction with the FABRICA studio of Italy. It recently won AIGA’s (American Institute of Graphic Arts) 2003 Award for Information Design. More about this creation.

I would be most interested in what you discover from using this application.

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0 Responses to WordCount™ – artistic presentation of information

  1. Ana says:

    Hmm… I can definitely see that it’s addictive! I got lucky early with “druthers”, off to try some more…

  2. Since it is based on British English, it has terms like windscreen, spanner and poofter, but has failed to capture American colloquiallisms like druthers yet.

    There was some mention of future development efforts. It will be interesting to see what else happens.

  3. Bill says:

    Definitely addictive. But I got one first try. Not the nicest word but “catamite,” from the Greek Catimitus. (It’s about the only not-so-common word I know. Wait … “hetaera” is also not there – words discovered years ago during a misspent, trivia obsessed youth.) Fortunately, I don’t find much use for these words except for instances like this.

  4. Dingo says:

    I got it on my 4th with apnea. However, I tried soliloquy first and it was only 41000 or so. My 2nd and 3rd weren’t much better. I sat and thought for a long time before getting apnea.

  5. Zane Safrit says:

    United Kingdom was missing, as was U.S. and United States. But Britain, UK and America were listed. I found myself a bit annoyed that Britain was listed at 300-ish, UK at 550-ish and America was in the 900-s. But hey, as an American it’s a good sign to recognize that other countries do exist. Now if I can find them on a map….

  6. Bill Schaffer says:

    Well, I finally got off my duff and started exploring. Phthisic wasn’t there, nor was my second try, trocar. So I thought these might be too specialized, being in the medical field. Next came dottle; that was also not on the list. Then neither mansuetude nor pulchritude was there. I tried squinch: also lacking.

    I didn’t get these from any source other than myself; I must admit, however, that I don’t often use them!!!

    “Squinch,” by the way, is an architectural term. A few years ago I was in an old village in the south of France, and the guidebook pointed out that on one of the street corners the building had a “squinch.” I actually saw it; it is a place where the corner of a bulding is cut away, giving the poor medieval pedestrian a place to duck into when a coach came round the corner.

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