Monday, February 11, 2008

Something a bit more 'educationally-orientated'

I had been talking to my Mum about how S prefers to read Swedish comic books. I thought that mostly contain the words roughly translated as 'Kaboom' and 'Dush'. There's me reminiscing about books such as 'The Secret Garden', which (understandably) don't appeal. She mailed me these figures, which give an idea of the varying frequencies of uncommon words in different contexts. Now I know why I found Sesame Street dull...

She got them from an American teacher who had passed them on to her

Source ---------- Rank of Median Word ----------- Rare Words per 1000
Printed Text
Abstracts of scientific articles------ 4389 ---------- 128.0
Newspapers-------------------------- 1690 ------------- 68.3
Popular magazines ------------------399 --------------- 65.7
Adult books -------------------------- 1058-------------- 52.7
Comic books------------------------- 867 ---------------- 53.5
Children’s books ---------------------627-----------------30 .9
Preschool books --------------------- 578-----------------16.3
Television (Spoken Language)
Prime-time adult shows-------------- 490-----------------22.7
Prime-time children’s shows---------543----------------- 20.2
Cartoon shows----------------------- 598...................... 30.8
Mr. Rogers & Sesame Street -------413 ------------------2.0
Expert witness testimony............ 1008 ------------------ 28.4
College graduates to friends, ---------- 496 ------------------ 17.3


ummrashid said...

But what are the uncommon words found in comic books? Aren't they just the type of words you describe, and other words peculiar to the fantasy context? Comics have a kind of sub-language of their own sometimes, don't they? That must be part of their appeal,to some, and what makes them dull to others. An interesting follow on study would compare word frequency counts between comics, or in different editions of the same comic, to see how much variation there is within the genre. There must be a linguistics student somewhere working on this as we write. (!)

UmSuhayb b David said...

Oh linguistics, that was a big part of my degree course.
They even have some different spellings for real words here :
'dej' for 'dig' (meaning accusative (?), it's been a long time)'you', the latter spelling found in comics being how it's pronounced .
My kids learn many words from Cartoon films too, just now I heard the words 'revenge' and 'terminate' (It's just 'Toy story' !, but obviously does not help much for spelling them

UmSuhayb b David said...

I meant the comic books spell the words differently to the norm..