Page 1 of 1

Word property search program (requires text files)

PostPosted:Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:50 am
by Scott H
I think we need a dictionary that allows you to search for words by various lexical and phonetic properties.

"Why?" you might ask.

So that we can perform studies on the various properties of language as they relate to its day-to-day use. For instance, it may turn out that words with primarily unvoiced consonants are more or less likely to have certain connotations than other words.

Suppose we wanted to search for random entries whose consonants were unvoiced and whose syllables were two or more. We would type something like:

auc and (syl > 1)

To find words containing sequences of letters (like 'ph'), we would type something like


We could combine these search criteria even further:

has("sh") and ((uc > 3) or (syl = 2))

Such a feature in an online dictionary would expand our capacity to understand the linguistic relationships that arise from interactions between human beings. It would not be hard to program, either.

What do you think of my idea?

If I wanted to begin a database containing the spelling and pronunciation of all words in a dictionary, how would I legally do this?