Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wednesday Search Challenge (August 24, 2011):Finding word relationships

It's sometimes useful to understand why / when / where a specific term is being used.  If you think about writing as a natural activity, that is, as a process that occurs naturally over time and space, you start to realize that text is created in a particular time and place.  People write articles, books, editorials (etc etc) for a particular audience at a particular time.  

If you take that observation to heart, you can think of documents / text almost like an natural, organic process, as though it were weather that's happening.  

The challenge for today is an interesting one:  What's the temporal relationship between the words "kayak" and "tint"?  

I'm tempted to leave it at that--it's a great puzzle just as it stands.  But I'll amplify a bit.  

In this blog we mostly talk about how find the answer to a specific question.  "What is the between and ?"  or "How much is ?"  

Typically, that involves searching through collections of documents and finding the bits of text that contain information that you need to answer the question.  

But the search challenge of today is somewhat different.  What I'm curious about is how these two words are used over time, and what, if any, relationship there is between them.  

The answer is interesting and surprised me.  It makes perfect sense, but I really hadn't thought about it before.

A big clue:  Consider how and when a word like "kayak" or "tint" is used in the US vs. Australia.  

It's a great puzzlement.  

Search on! 


  1. in american english the use of "tint" seems to surpass "kayak" for the first time,
    but that happens in 2001 on british english books,

    but i dont think i got your challenge right, since i dont get the point of "temporal relationship"

  2. I don't understand the question either.