The Loh Down On Science

New software lets everyone feel like William Shakespeare!

Shall software compare thee to a summer’s day?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

That William Shakespeare knew how to write.  He was downright Shakespearean!

But what about the rest of us?

The editors of the Oxford English Dictionary can help us find out.  They've created an online tool called “How Shakespearean are you?”  Type in something you wrote, and compare your golden stylings to the Bard’s!

The editors ran Shakespeare’s complete works through software.  It extracted each unique word and put it in a list.

At the online tool, type in your own text.  Hit enter.  And?  Software compares your text to the list.  Word for word!  It calculates the percentage correlation between the two.  And gives you a funny phrase like "The waters of Avon almost lap at your feet."

What I've just said?  Seventy-seven percent Shakespearean.  The Gettysburg Address?  Ninety-six percent.  John Belushi’s speech from Animal House?  Seventy-seven percent.  But he gets extra points for the toga.

The software might encourage budding writers.

Especially you:  Thou currish, swag-bellied apple-john!   Sorry.  That’s our Shakespearean insult-software talking.

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


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