Word Clouds – Analyzing My Writing Quirks and Topics

A glimpse of a word cloud in Time magazine  has resulted in this attempt to understand my prose.  I used Wordle to produce the images below.

First a few comments.  Wordle is capable of making beautiful word clouds with an unlimited variety of colors, fonts, and word orientations.  Check out this gallery.  But for analysis purposes I chose horizontally oriented,  white on black images.  The other options seemed distracting.  I discovered by accident that a right-click on a word will allow one to remove that word.  This image is the “raw” data from over ten of my latest posts with a few mathematical symbol artifacts removed.

Blog Post Word Cloud - Barely Edited

There are still too many filler words like “come” and “form” and “see”.  I removed all that I could find to get this word cloud.

Blog Post Word Cloud - Heavily Edited to Remove Common Words

It is relatively easy to see that my main topics have been students, ribbons and loops.  Ribbons and loops?  What’s up with that?  One of the articles I pasted in was a longish one on twisting looped ribbons without kinks.  Still I think the word cloud gives a fair view of my interests at least as expressed in my blog.

I also told Wordle not to ignore common English words.  This was the result.

Blog Post Word Cloud - Common Words Retained

Compare this to a list of the hundred most common English words.  No surprises except that I use the word “I” more often.  These are my math thoughts after all.

Word clouds are fun to play with though at least in experiment not a great amount of new information was elicited.  I do have a good idea for the next time I teach elementary statistics.  I will use  students’ writing samples as our primary data set.   Their written homework will be composed of various exercises in statistical text analysis.


About jrh794

I am a sixty-five year old math instructor at Southern Oregon University. I taught at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed California for twenty-six years. Prior to that I worked as a computer programmer, carpenter and in various other jobs. I graduated from Rice University in 1967 and have a MS in Operations Research from Stanford. In the past I have hand-built a stone house and taken long solo bicycle tours. Now I ride my mountain bike and play golf for recreation.
This entry was posted in Cool Ideas, Curriculum, Math and Me, Pedagogy. Bookmark the permalink.

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