When we write, we reveal much...
... about ourselves, and about the way we think. Linguists have known this for a while, and often do studies where they try to figure out how what we think/feel/believe is reflected in what we write.
This week's Challenge is a couple of simple questions that are either taxing, or simple... if you know how to approach the question.
What does our language tell us? We'll consider just English in this week's Challenge, as it's a good entry point, and finding the data isn't terribly hard. So, in a large collection of written English text, what are the answers to these questions?
1. When people write about world cities, which do they write about most often? Los Angeles, London, Berlin, or Beijing?
2. If you look at what people write about what they drink (as a beverage), what do they write about? (Water? Wine? Beer? Coffee? Root beer?) Which is the most commonly written-about beverage?
3. Is the word "fly" used more often as a noun, or as a verb?
4. Speaking of polysemous words (words with more than one meaning), can you find any words that USED to be used more frequently as nouns, that are now usually used as verbs? (Or vice-versa? Words that were once verbs, but are now thought of as nouns?)
This isn't that hard, once you figure out how / where to analyze the data. But it probably give you hours of fun as we explore how often different words appear in written prose.
Can you do it? Let us know what you find (and HOW you discovered it)!