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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: September ::
Re: Word-Frequency List
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1724  Tuesday, 12 September 2000.

[1]     From:   Scott Crozier <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Sep 2000 08:26:22 +1000
        Subj:   Word-Frequency List

[2]     From:   John Jowett <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Sep 2000 10:11:45 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1715 Re: Word-Frequency List


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Crozier <
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Date:           Tuesday, 12 Sep 2000 08:26:22 +1000
Subject:        Word-Frequency List

Michael Best asks if anyone knows of word frequency lists on the Net.
Thee two sites may not be exactly what he is wanting but the University
of Hanover site on Shakespeare statistics is interesting:
http://sun1.rrzn.uni-hannover.de/~nhtnilse/welcome.htm and the other
from Mt Ararat High School is a useful word frequency list.   I cannot
vouch for the accuracy of it but I have used it in class with worthwhile
results.  For example, in which tragedy does the word love appear most
often?  What does this tell us?
http://www.mta.link75.org/curriculum/english/shake/
<http://www.mta.link75.org/curriculum/english/shake/>

Regards,
Scott Crozier
Director of Drama
St. Michael's Grammar School

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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Jowett <
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Date:           Tuesday, 12 Sep 2000 10:11:45 GMT
Subject: 11.1715 Re: Word-Frequency List
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1715 Re: Word-Frequency List

I've just had a quick look at Michael Best's provisional list of the
frequency of words in Shakespeare.  Anyone using this potentially
valuable resource should be aware not only of Michael's own caveats, but
also that the list includes words from stage directions and
speech-prefixes without differentiation.  This leads to some surprising
results.  For example, where the Harvard concordance lists 17 instances
of 'Vincentio', the figure given in the word-frequency list is 233,
which makes it apparently commoner that 'breath', 'talk', or 'less'.
Presumably Michael used a public-domain edition in which 'Vincentio' was
given as the speech heading for the Duke in Measure for Measure; in the
Folio, of course, 'Vincentio' is printed in the list of 'The names of
all the Actors' but nowhere in the text of that play.  In this case the
edition from which the list was compiled highlights the issue, but all
names are affected to a greater or lesser extent; for instance 'Macbeth'
has 42 occurrences in Harvard, 247 occurrences in the frequency list.

John Jowett
 

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