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From time to time I find myself wishing to calculate basic statistics on words in the English language. For example, today I found myself wanting a graph of the number of English words vs. their length.

Admittedly, such queries usually arise for me in the context of conversational/recreational purposes, but with the obvious links to cryptography, computational game theory (Scrabble AI etc), and statistics, I think the following question easily falls within the purview of mathematical research.

What good quality resources exist for performing statistical/structural analysis on the set of English words?

One answer to this would be "get a decent word list and write an appropriate program", but, firstly, I don't know what the best word list is and where to get it , and, secondly, in a post-Wolfram Alpha world, I am compelled to search for something higher level, that I can consult from time to time with little set-up needed. For example Mathematica seems to have an elaborate "WordData" package, though I am somewhat unsure of how exhaustive the data set is, given the following excerpt from the Wolfram site:

"Total number of words and phrases in WordData: In[1]:= Length[WordData[All]] Out[1]= 149191"

If anyone has first-hand experience with this package, or even better (as a Maple user), a similar or better resource that is standalone, (or implemented in Maple), then it would be great to hear about it.

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I think that this is more of a programming question than a mathematical one and would be more appropriate on SO than MO. –  Loop Space Jun 16 '10 at 13:31
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I considered that too, but decided the kind of answers I want are more likely to be given by those doing mathematical research. I agree it is near the borderline, but I think I'm on the right side. The precedent of this question helped my decison: mathoverflow.net/questions/19046/… –  Q.Q.J. Jun 16 '10 at 13:56
    
I wasn't all that keen on that question, either! I don't see any actual mathematics or application to mathematics in the question, though. And the latter half is most definitely programming. –  Loop Space Jun 16 '10 at 14:24
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Well I've given my motivations, rationale, and well-defined question, but it seems like we might have different opinions on what a mathematician is allowed to do. So be it :) Please feel free to create and add the mathematical linguistics tag if you deem it appropriate! –  Q.Q.J. Jun 16 '10 at 17:27
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People who think of cryptography, computational game theory, statistics, recreational mathematics, or mathematical thinking in other fields as being mathematics could find the resource I ask about to be useful for doing research in those areas. The question has arisen for me, I think the question is okay here, and this is all I want to say about it. I am okay with the existence of differing opinions. –  Q.Q.J. Jun 16 '10 at 18:56
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I am very sure this kind ofn things is done in the free (free as in freedom, not as in beer!) statistical language R. .. See www.r-project.org, and then repeat your question on the r-help mailing list, where you are sure to get informed answers about how to do it in R. That it can be done tere, and is done there, is a certainty.

( as for the meta-discussion where this belongs, it belongs on mathoverflow! Statistics is math, not programming.)

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The actual question asked is not statistics, though. –  Loop Space Jun 16 '10 at 16:58
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The Natural Language Toolkit for Python seems to pretty good.

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