Saturday, 30 May 2015

Reformed priest gives account of current doings (6)

Todays TEZZY (for a Time-wasting site) goes to this fascinating interactive effort – full of interest but (if I‘m being brutally honest) hardly of critical importance for the fate of Civilization as we know it. Its based on a corpus of reports by students of their teachers:
This interactive chart lets you explore the words used to describe male and female teachers in about 14 million reviews from
And perhaps I do underestimate its importance. Maybe there is an interesting conclusion to be drawn from  the fact that students are slightly more likely to call a female teacher happy, but much more likely to call a male teacher funny. Im not sure what it might be, but its certainly fun toggling between the two and watching the blue dots change places with the pink ones (OK, they‘re not pink really, more like orange) in a sort of birds eye view of a courtly dance. I think itd be more significant if one could compare ratings of the same-sex teacher by different-sex students, and then to compare S>T, S>T, S>T and S>T. (More significant,  but Id still be hard pressed to say exactly  what it signified.)

Tales from the word-face

I'm still trawling through the vowel+l pairs. L was a dispiriting letter to start with. I should have started with R or W – much more interesting. But I am a slave to the alphabet. I am nearing the end of the -el-s. On a hunch, I went back to check on the raw totals (net of any systematic exclusions I choose to observe). And the numbers of hits in the Macdonald English Dictionary (that is the UK site, despite the Mit) turned out to have an alphabetical regularity:

And that is a subordinating conjunction (or  something like that – the naming of parts isn't really my schtick). Another bugbear in my admittedly bugbear-ridden life is the growing and unaccountable and mindless and downright lazy  and otherwise lamentable...
<meta_rant topic="laMENtable">
And there's another one. Get the stress right for Heaven's sake. I know it's easier to match the stress of the verb, but "them's the breaks, kid" as someone (maybe John Wayne) once said.
....tendency to use 'So' as an all-purpose linguistic tic that seems to mean something like 'Here comes a sentence, but don't expect it to have a link to anything that's gone before and I don't care about any fruitless efforts you may make to find one – you seem to have mistaken me for someone with a modicum of consideration for the people I talk to'.
...although I haven't finished -el- I've done more than half.

Enough navel-gazing; there's cricket to watch.  


Update 2015.05.31.11:35 – Sexed up picture.

Update 2015.06.01.15:15 – Added PS.

Another TEZZY observation: with a few exceptions, a male teacher is more likely than a female one to be assessed as fat. The exceptions are in Computer Science, Philosophy, Psychology, and Sociology. Make of that what you will; of course, in those (and all cases) the review might have said ‘<teacher-name> couldn't be called fat'. (Come to think of it.... Still, it's fun.)

Update 2015.06.06.18:05 – Added PPS.

And here's another:
I wonder what makes Economics, Physics, and Engineering (and to a negligible extent Accounting and Business) buck the trend; and what makes male teachers of Education so much sexier than female ones. It's not that easy of course; maybe there just happen to be very few female tutors in that subject.... Hmm – I did say it was a time-waster 

And while we're on the subject of statistical anomalies, how about this (courtesy of Blogger, a record of page views [to Harmless Drudgery] for the past week):

Noted for Update, 2015.06.08

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 of 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.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

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 49,000 views  and  over 7,850 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 nearly 2,700 views and nearly 1,100 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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