Word Patterns

18 Apr

We all have favorite words. Those favorite exclamations when something really exciting happens (or something frighteningly unexpected). We have words we like to address our friends with. Words we go to out of habit. As  journalists, we are taught to be aware of our words. What words we consistently use because they’re comfortable, like a security blanket. What words we turn to when a sensitive topic is being dealt with. What words we use when we’re trying to a remain neutral though the topic sparks a million different opinions.

Lucky for all of us, we can use Wordle to track these habits. It’s quite simple to use: simply enter text or a URL. Words used in the given text appear in a systematic jumble, and the bigger the word, the more frequent it is. While the site can be a bit buggy due to its reliance on Java, the cloud of words it generates seems almost like a work of art.

Wordle is a wonderful tool for writers as a whole. We can quickly pick out our go-to words and, therefore, seek to expand our writing vocabulary. It’s an entertaining way to self-edit and improve our stories, save catching grammar mistakes. As journalists, we can take advantage of the URL or RSS feed option to track trends in the news. This can lead to many story leads, some of which may have gone unnoticed when read as separate articles.

Writers, as well as common citizens, aren’t the only ones suspect to using words on repeat. The president has favorite words too.

This is abundantly clear in his State of the Union addresses. This is the United States of America, and he certainly has cared about addressing the Americans who live there. His first State of the Union brims with hope of what his time in office will bring, as do citizens when there is a new president. After that, the next three messages have a heavy emphasis on the economy and jobs, which is still a strong worry in today’s hard times. Interestingly, there was a shift in the emphasis on energy this year. Given the climbing rate of gas prices, it’s only right that the rate the word is used climbs too.

2009: 

2010: 

2011: 

2012: 

 

 

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