Friday, 24 May 2013

Sudden increase in skier, mistaking right for power (5)

The Collins dictionary (example look-up, skierand I just noticed that page invites you to 'Like this word'; to misquote Joni Mitchell, 'Like? Where's that at?') has a well hidden feature, right down at the foot of the page – where it's almost guaranteed to be overlooked*. Talk about lights and bushels! Here it is:
Word usage trends for 'skier'
The input data for the graph are presumably the Collins corpus, whatever it's called, so I imagine one could work out what the grid-lines mean. But the relative usages are pretty starkly delineated (in a strangely apt application of that word). I chose the 50 year display because it most closely reflects my lifetime – though I did sneak a peak at the 100 year display, and there was a much smaller spike just before I was born – presumably a post-war fling (the spike, not the birth, of course...oh dear, I'll stop digging). But throughout my life, usage of skier has been in the bottom half of the graph; then, in the late nineties, it more or less doubled (as long as the count starts at zero). Why would that be?

Could it have been because of the extraordinary success of Norwegian businessman and cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie who won three gold medals at Nagano, bringing his total to 8 golds in a total of 12 (it says here)? I must say I doubt it. The name 'Bjørn Dæhlie' certainly didn't impinge heavily on my consciousness.

Hmm. So little time; so many digressions.

(PS Told you.)
Update 2013.05.28.10:20
  1. OK, time's up. It's spike.
  2. * Just the right place – the foot of the page – to put something when you want it to be over- looked (geddit? – the linebreak should help)

Update 2013.07.15: 'Tempus', as my old maths master used to say as we neared the end of another lesson, 'has fugitted'. See below for the latest.

Update 2014.05.25.16:20 – New footer again.

 Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs ov vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this.

Freebies (Teaching resources: over 41.300 views  and over 5,700 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with over 2,100 views and nearly 1,000 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.

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