Perl Collocates

My linguistics course contains lots of really interesting material but unfortunately has really boring assignments. The last assignment was so awful that I considered giving up the course as I didn’t want to spend my spare time on something I wasn’t enjoying. To help with the tedium I decided to find something to do with the new knowledge that actually interests me.

I have been reading about collocates – words that are typically grouped together such as “law and order” and “fish and chips”. What interests me is the introduction of new collocates. I read a study by Fairclough who had analysed 53 speeches given by Tony Blair. The word “new” occurred 609 times and the most frequent collocates were “new labour” and “new deal”.

I am also interested in the Perl community, how it is perceived and how it perceives itself. If I analyse the blogs of various members of the community what are the collocates of “Perl” going to be? Some are going to be obvious – “Perl community”, “Perl 6” – but what unexpected ones will I find? And what has changed in the last few years? What did we talk about in the past that is no longer important to us and what is the latest thing to be linked with Perl?

8 Responses to “Perl Collocates”

  1. Stray Taoist Says:

    How do you define the perl *community*? Those with the loudest voices? The self-aggrandising, self-publicising, sell-appointed spokespeople?

    Is it a self-perpetuating group? Are those who just see it as a day job not allowed in? (How does the *community* see the *wider* community?)

    I would be interested in your collaction research, and indeed, it might be fun to apply such linguistic techniques to *any* group. Because groups use language in a very specific way, to include, exclude and obfuscate. (As the Blair terms are meaningless when broken down. I digress.)

    There are quite a few decent books on such linguistic (with no meaning) constructs. Although I guess not all collocates are meaningless. Just the ones from lying scumbag politicians. I digress. Again. I should be making the dinner.

    I expect a follow up post with your results. 🙂

  2. Marty was here! - Perl Collocates Says:

    […] and I were talking about linguistics and textual analysis, and how she wanted to analyse the writings of the Perl community. So, to make a start we decided to write a short Perl script to extract word level n-grams from […]

  3. Stray Taoist Says:

    That’s me told then.

  4. Stray Taoist Says:

    /me decides to read his feeds in a different order in future.

  5. karen Says:

    I did write my post before Marty – so you read them in the correct order. Marty was showing how he was planning on pulling these out of data and now we need to find a suitable corpus of data. And I still need to blog some more about the collocation papers I have been reading.

    I am surprised that you think that the collocates that politicians use are meaningless. They give us insight into the way in which they are trying to make the electorate think. Mills, In The Art of Persuasion, claims that the word “new” is one of the 16 words (out of the half or million so words) that really grab the attention of the listener. He also says that the top word in this list is either “new” or “free”. Attaching the word “new” to the name of your party is a very clever move.

  6. Stray Taoist Says:

    Of *course* words from politicians are meaningless. They deliberately devoid them of all sense. (Let us not start on the obvious, whereby tacking ‘social’ on the front of *anything* makes it meaningless.)

    There is a difference between rebranding (shot me now) a party by reappropriating language. Perhaps that is better than meaningless. Perhaps I really mean they misappropriate words thereby making them meaningless. Gordon Brown (if you follow UK politics) is a master of making Stalinesque (in the pattern of speak, as well as the intent) speeches, which in the end say nothing, mean nothing but at the same time remain utterly dangerous to our way of life.

    Oh, wait, I should read properly before I start off. *the collocates that politicians use…* Right. Hmmm. Mayhaps I shouldn’t let my anger at the tricks pulled by politicians get in the way of my (usual, natch) clear thinking, eh? 😀

    The Art of Persuasion, eh? Haven’t read it. Added to the list.

    Is Marty planning on releasing some of this code? Maybe I should ask him that, eh?

  7. karen Says:

    Tony did send me a link to an interview with Gordon Brown regarding ID Cards and I was horrified that I couldn’t understand anything he was saying. Lots of words but no sense at all.

    I asked Marty about the code (because you know he rarely gets round to reading emails from people) and he did say that he was planning on releasing all his code under GPL 3. He giggled after this and I’m really not sure why.

  8. Khaos » Blog Archive » Perl Collocates: Finding Data Says:

    […] haven’t forgotten my earlier post where I stated that I wanted to find out what collocates of “Perl” were being used by […]