Carry On

Simon Snow, Good Omens, and Stylometrics


So we’ve had a couple of questions regarding our interview with Lisa Pearl
and what she had to say about textual analysis and writeprints, the
ways in which we signal who we are by how we use language. Like, for
example, Gretchen McCulloch on All Things Linguistic asked about telling apart the different writing done by different characters in Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl vs. Carry On. And in the YouTube comments, Valdagast asked about Good Omens, a book co-written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, regarding whether we could use this kind of analysis to figure out which parts were written by which author.

went ahead and ran these questions by Dr. Pearl, and I’ve got her
answers below here! And I’m glad she answered them, because wow, this is
not my area of expertise.

Keep reading

This is incredibly cool and I’m excited I got to be (a tiny) part of the process of making ithappen. Thank you Dr. Pearl! ^_^



We’re really excited to have gotten to interview Lisa Pearl recently! Dr. Pearl is an Associate Professor at the University of California, Irvine, and the director of their Computation of Language Laboratory. She’s published numerous articles on how to use statistical models to check different hypotheses about what kids do to learn language, as well as about natural language processing and textual analysis. We’ve been talking about her work since our very first episode!

We got to ask her about a lot of great topics, including:
– what statistical models can tell us about how kids acquire language
– what’s under our control in our writing, and what we unconsciously show as our write-print
– why computers are so bad at detecting tone and picking out the right meanings of words
– how statistical models and Universal Grammar interact
– a question from one of our viewers about how to approach modeling for second language acquisition

And more! Hope you all enjoy it, and thanks to Dr. Lisa Travis and the Department of Linguistics at McGill University for letting us film there.

This discussion of “write-prints” (like a fingerprint, but for writing) and epistolary novels makes me wonder if Lisa Pearl could be the linguist who could do the study I’ve always wanted to see, which would compare the linguistic characteristics of the three types of text in Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl: the Gemma T. Leslie Simon Snow text, Cath’s fanfic of the Simon Snow books, and the body tex. Which, for example, would be most similar to Carry On, the not-quite-fanfic of the Simon Snow portions of Fangirl?

ommggg Moti can we make this happen?