Creating a data set
Look at these three short poems or extracts. Each writer has his own individual style, a component of which is word complexity.
One way of measuring this is by counting the number of syllables in the words used. These can be shown in a frequency chart above. Just over 60% of the words in Poem A are of one syllable. Decide which is poem A, B & C by examining the syllable frequencies.
The small towns of Ireland – John Betjeman
The small towns of Ireland by bards are neglected,
They stand there, all lonesome, on hilltop and plain.
The Protestant glebe house by beech trees protected
Sits close to the gates of his Lordship’s demesne.
But where is his Lordship, who once in a Phaeton
Drove out twixt his lodges and into the town?
Of his tragic misfortunes I will not dilate on;
These mansions a ruin, his woods are cut down.
His impoverished descendant is dwelling in Ealing,
His daughters must type for their bread and their board,
O’er the graves of his forebears the nettle is stealing
And few will remember the sad Irish lord.
Everyone for tennis – Nigel Forde
Unanswered questions lie about
Our universe like leaves:
Why Man? Why universe at all?
Why poverty, war, disease?
Who can enter the storehouse of the snow
Or bind the Pleiades?
Is Man an accidental blob
Of pure primaeval jelly?
How then Aquinas, Rembrandt, Newton,
And who gives a monkey’s anyway -
There’s tennis on the telly!
Lament of glasses case - John Hegley
you go out and do a full day’s work
I remain shut up and empty
my job is looking after you
I do it very well
and yet you never return with open arms
How might you tackle this problem?
The answer is in the video in the next step.
© University of East Anglia