Word Ways


A. Ross Eckler


Most people would agree that SORNIE looks like a word, but DKYODZ does not. Can subjective judgements like these be codified? Can they be translated into explicit rules that rate the word plausibility of a letter-string? This article suggests a few rules, and speculates how they might be combined to forms a super-rule for discriminating between plausible words and impossible combinations. For strings of any length, such rules are likely to be computationally burdensome, requiring a computer to implement them. I propose several rules for letter-strings of length three, and show how well they perform. I then take the best of these rules and evaluate it for letter-strings of length seven.