Sunday, 24 January 2010

Good Gone Home

A year or so ago there was much linguistic excitement that book had become New York slang for cool, because that was the first word that came up in predictive texting (2665). This is, apparently, called a textonym. Some other results that I've noticed is that home is third choice after good and gone meaning that as I cycle through I get the phrase "Good gone home".

I can tell that the verbal priorities were not decided by an Englishman as I'm always flicking through shot and riot to get pint. When texting people about a male chicken (2625) the result is enough to make the puerile titter, although I gaze solemnly and sadly at my handset.

I would love to know how the hierarchy is decided. I've worked out that it definitely does not use the British National Corpus. The BNC (to which there is a permanent link on the right) is a one hundred million word database of current English usage on these unfair islands. Some other people have set up a site called Wordcount, which has arranged every single one of these words in order of their frequency starting with the of and to and ending with workless recrossed conquistador.

I checked up shot riot pint on Wordcount and found that the order was shot (ranked 1,257), then pint (6,131) with riot bringing up the rear* (7,259).

The same applies to good gone home, which Wordcount orders good (116), home (161) and gone (462). This is odd as I would have imagined that, unlike pint and riot, these words would have the same frequency in Britain and America. I can only guess that the telephone companies did the same thing as Wordcount with every text message ever written.

Anal does precede cock on Wordcount and I was astonished to find that the latter (ranked 10,870) is the next-door neighbour of penis (10,871) and, for some reason, hare. I should probably spend less time with foul-mouthed Londoners and more with predatory rustics.

The workless conquistador recrossed Carniola

*Has anyone else noticed that rear can mean to bring up? It's rather like a dancer who can cancan or an eager testator who will will.

P.S. Wordcount, which I didn't know about at the time, partially confirms this previous post as flagpole is next to Suarov who is apparently the fictional Russian president from the TV series 24, and glide is ranked two below inexorable.

1 comment:

  1. Anal also replaces coal. This causes no end of bother when I text my local coal merchant to order a half ton of the black stuff. No wonder the poor man always looks exhausted.