Great news for those who are into visual corpus linguistics but don’t work on SAE languages: since July, Wordle handles alphabets in the Extended Latin ranges; and today its maker, Jonathan Feinberg, added support for combining diacritics. That means that you can now feed Wordle texts from languages that use tone marks and other diacritics in their orthographies. Like Siwu.
The Wordle above displays the most common words in some ten minutes of spontaneous conversation in Siwu, one of the fruits of my last fieldtrip. The conversation has four participants. Nothing groundbreaking about this particular Wordle, it’s just a nice word cloud starring:
- kùɖu ‘gunpowder’, the main topic of the conversation since this was actually videotaped while the four participants were manufacturing a local type of gunpowder;
- sɔ, the all-purpose quotative/complementizer — (X) (says) that Y…;
- gɔ, the relative pronoun for the animate singular class, as in ɔ̀turi gɔ lokpi ‘the man who died’ — this indicates that a lot of the talk is about persons;
- mm, a backchannel cue signalling involvement and attention
- fɔ, an emphatic 2nd person pronoun;
- kɔ̃rɔ ‘right now’, a stoplap roughly used as English now in ‘now we went there and guess what happened…’
Things this Wordle cannot show is the relative differences in conversational strategies of the participants. Mr. Orange, for example, as I call him in my ELAN transcript of the conversation, is by far the main supplier of mm and its cousin m-hm; in fact his repertoire is not much bigger than that — rather than doing the talking he prefers to have a supporting role in this particular conversation.
The three others are much more vocal and varied, not to mention much more expressive (ideophones are sprinkled all over the place!). But that’s all for another occassion. For now, cheers to the new Wordle!