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Friday, April 13, 2012

A to Z Blogging Challenge-L


L is for Language in today's A-Z Blog Challenge

People take language for granted. It's surrounded most of us since we took our first breath. But as writers  we're constantly working with our language to hone our phrases, bring life to the dialogue, create a setting to draw in our readers. Writing is rewriting, rewriting, rewriting--at least for me.
And one thing I've learned over the years is that there are many ways to say something. MANY. So how many do you think? Here's an interesting study I found a long time ago in The Miracle of Language by R. Lederer.

A professor at Wesleyan University gave 25 people a simple cartoon and asked each to use one sentence to describe what it portrayed. He got 25 different sentences. So that's not surprising, right? But then he used a computer, entering the "raw data" of those 25 sentences to see how many other sentences were possible. Here's your multiple choice quiz.

A. 5, 000
B. 50, 000
C. 5, 000, 000
D. 5, 000, 000, 000
E. More

What's your guess? I'll put the answer at the top of tomorrow's (M's Day).

22 comments:

  1. Wow! Any of those answers is a lot, but I'm going with C.

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  2. I've no idea! Um... I'll go with C, as well.

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  3. Hi CL .. I'll go with D .. interesting to find out - cheers Hilary

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  4. I'll guess the biggest one, D, because I totally believe in the amazing power of words!

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  5. I'm going to go with E. I look at it this way. There are only 8 notes in the musical scale and yet there are an infinite number of ways those notes can be put together. So I'm thinking it might be the same thing with 26 letters and who knows how many words, an infinite number of ways they could be strung together.

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  6. I have absolutely no idea what the answer is, so I'll just opt for E! There are so many books and so many writers in the world (and those who've gone before) that I think it would be impossible to quantify the permutations!

    Just dropped in here on the A-Z blog-hop! ;-)

    SueH I refuse to go quietly!

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  7. I bet it's E.

    I'm taking a poetry class now because I want to stand it more. I also want to be braver and more skillful about playing with language.

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  8. Hmm. There's a poser. I seems to me that D and E might be possible if the sentences didn't have to make grammatical sense, but otherwise, they seem a tad high. And yet, you know what? I'm going with E. As you say, language is miraculous!

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  9. Um, IDK. LOL. I'll go with E, lots of people are picking that one.

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  10. Yikes, I'm terrible at math. That's why I'm a writer!

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  11. I think I'll have to go with E. Twenty five sentences would have to produce more than 5, 000, 000, 000 more sentences. Uh, do we win a prize?? *wink*

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  12. It would be a lot. A lot of the words would be repeats including the major pictures in the cartoon. Hmmmm, I'll guess 5 billion.

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  13. Any chance it's the 5 million to go with tomorrow's M theme?

    Just stopping by from the A to Z challenge. Good luck with the rest!

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  14. Language is essential. A good L word.

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  15. What fun! I am not good at math- so I am just taking a wild guess: C? I agree though- language is important and everyone sees things in their own unique way. :)

    ~Jess

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  16. Just thinking about the permutations of picking (or not picking) just one element out of each of the 25 sentences, I'm going with E. More. Way, waayyyy more.

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  17. I'm going to have to go with a lot of the others here and say...E. More!

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  18. I'd like to phone a friend, but it's about 1:30 in the morning here, so I'll have to cheat - I mean wait until later today! Julie

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  19. I'm terrible at math, but my gut is telling me E. I love it when the pure language of a book grabs me. I recently read MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND - the language absolutely melts on your tongue like chocolate.

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  20. I already saw the answer, which doesn't surprise me.

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