Wordcount.org – it counts words…

Wordcount.org's excellent site shows the frequency of English words in used on the Internet…or rather it lists English words in order of how frequently they appear on the Internet

EDIT: Here’s a link to the Arcanicity Index Calculator I mention lower down in this post.

I stumbled across this site the other day when looking for information on the frequency of words used in common English. The site is the brainchild of Jonathan Harris and is wonderfully minimalistic. It almost feels as though this simple Flash plugin were an installation in a museum’s white room. A real lesson to us “more is more” types that indeed, less is more.

Anyway, take a look at wordcount.org and marvel at where your favourite words, your first name, your last name or your company name all fit into the rank of words. But be warned, it’s sister site Querycount watches you and ranks the frequency of searches in wordcount. Go on, have a guess how many expletives make it into the top ten of wordcount searches. Well the answer is three. And they’re three of the worst, or best, depending on your point of view.

I’ve been thinking about readability and ‘Arcanicity’ recently and have been trying to rate how easy a piece of text is to comprehend. Wordcount has made me think that a good place to start might be to look at how frequently each of the words in the text appears in common English usage. After all, if a sentence were full of very uncommon words it would surely mean that a reader would need greater knowledge / experience to comprehend it.

Hmm. Something to ponder.

Danny Goodall

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