LINGUIST List 4.564

Mon 26 Jul 1993

Sum: Text Manipulation Software

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Forrest Richey, Summary: software for educational/recreational text manipulation

Message 1: Summary: software for educational/recreational text manipulation

Date: Thu, 15 Jul 1993 08:18:56 Summary: software for educational/recreational text manipulation
From: Forrest Richey <>
Subject: Summary: software for educational/recreational text manipulation

Summary of replies to Educational/Recreational Text manipulation Query,
of 25 May 1993.

Here is the edited original query followed by edited replies in the order
received and finally a table of all of the software that I actually now
have. Most of the software mentioned is available on the Internet. I have
not learned yet how conveniently to distribute the software (as by
depositing it at an ftp site). I'll attempt to fill requests if there are
only a few but may need to automate the process (as by depositing at an ftp
site) if there is much activity.

So, with this summary, a question... how/where should I post these limited
interest files?

If there is continuing interest, I'll be pleased to act as a collection
point with future re-posting.


Forrest Richey

 --------original query (edited)--------

 Subject: Wanted: software for educational/recreational text manipulation

I'm looking for computer software for analysis and synthesis of text on Mac
OS or MS DOS (or recompilable source). It should be affordable and simple
enough for a student or teacher (K-12 or college) to use. Ideally it will
produce an amusing or interesting result that will increase the user's
appreciation of language, communication, and/or the connection of language
to thought.



 Date: Tue, 25 May 93 16:37:02 EDT
 Subject: FOGGY (for DOS) and foggy.hqx (for Mac + Hypercard) are both available
to anonymous ftp on is in
/linguistics/software/dos and foggy.hqx is in /linguistics/software/mac.

They assemble sentences and paragraphs from lists of canned phrases. But
they're amusing. comes with Pascal source code and uses external
files that can be easily added to.

For teaching syntax, let me recommend any of the many versions of Eliza,
the psychiatrist program. The scripts are usually modifiable, and changing
Eliza into a paranoid or a feminist therapist or a Zen master is a very
interesting (and amusing) exercise.

-John Lawler
Program in Linguistics University of Michigan


 From: j.guytrl.OZ.AU (Jacques Guy)
 Subject: Your query about software
 Date: Wed, 26 May 1993 09:33:17

I had written, two or three years ago, an implementation of the algorithm
described in my article "Fast high-order monkeys &c" in Quantitative
Linguistics Vol.45 pp.125-130.

Given a text, any text, it:
1. produces an on-screen concordance,
2. computes its word or character entropy to any order, 3. outputs a
"mimic" text to any order.

I hadn't uploaded it to any ftp sites, since I had discovered that it had a
couple of (minor) bugs, and intended to rewrite it completely -- but never
got around to doing so.

In a different vein, you could try COGNATE.ZIP which you will find in the
linguistics subdirectory at and its many mirror sites (oak,
too). Given any two sample wordlists in related languages, it finds which
word pairs are likely to be cognate, and which phonemes/letters correspond
to each other. It is based on an algorithm of mine which hasn't been

Both programs are written for PCs.


 From: Tom Zeiler <>

I recall an MS DOS shareware deal called the Creativity Package. Seems
like "Thunderthought" might have been part of the name, too. Anyway, the
user set up various lexicons which were used by the various programs to
generate sentences, poetry, etc. It was kind of intriguing.


 Date: Sun, 30 May 1993 12:56:26 -0400
 Subject: K-12 linguistic software
 From: Stavros Macrakis <> Sender:

This is not a direct answer to your question, but MIT Press published a
book on doing linguistics using Logo for K-12. ...they should be able to
find it. There are only 4-5 books with "Logo" in their title from MIT



 From: Ron Southerland <>

There are a couple of applications for the Mac that I know of:

(1) TextMangler -- takes a bit of text as input and 'mangles' it into
something else -- still interpretable as English text.

(2) Deconstructor -- vaguely similar to the above. Its aim (as stated in
its intro) is -- " Deconstructor is a text manipulation tool similar to
Dissociated Press or Travesty. It reads text files, gets an idea of how
they are structured, and then produces new text resembling, but not exactly
like, the original." I haven't used this but the instructions accompanying
it indicate that a number of subtle 'adjustments' can be made in the
application to give all sorts of decontsructed evrions of a original text.

Ron Southerland


 Re: Educational Software

ALICE THE GENERATOR gives students practice in identifying the grammatical
parts of sentences it randomly generates. Semantic restrictions are
employed to avoid both anomalous and contradictory constructions, although
the rules are left loose enough for ALICE to produce imaginative and
entertaining exercises. The package contains a help facility which allows
students to review the meaning of grammatical terms and a "playback"
function which they can use to review their work at the end of a session.
ALICE runs on MS-DOS systems with at least 512K and is in use at a number
of high schools and universities. Price: $50 Canadian. No shipping charges
or taxes.

To order copies:

BTS Educational Software
1160 Quinton Rd.
London, Ontario N6H 4R1

 --------Software in possession of

Programs for MS DOS:

BABBLE- shareware, Korenthal Associates, NYC; analyzes input text for word
pair frequency. Generates output text of similar pair concentrations.
Includes several amusing switches such as 'lisp', 'fudd', etc.

COGNATE- finds cognates in wordlists from two languages

DADAPOEM- Freeware; generates text from editable lists of parts of speech
and template sentences, phrases, etc.

MONKEY- calculates on-screen concordance, determines character or word
entropy and generates mimic text having any order of entropy.

NAMEGRAM- Shareware, Neil Rubenking; finds words in your input name,
phrase, etc. Generates anagrams using these words.

TRANS- A simple, word substitution translator which uses data files to add
languages. Includes learn mode so very flexible.

TRAVESTY- Freeware; analyzes input text for character string
concentrations. Generates output text of about the same concentrations.
String length choosable for analysis.

Mac Programs:

Deconstructor- application; analyzes phrases, words, syllables, and
characters of input and makes output.

ELIZA- application; the cyberpsychiatrist. Generates output file. Source

HyperGobbledegook- Hypercard (HC) stack. Generates maddeningly competent

Karma Manager- HC stack; anagrams from your input name, phrase, etc.

Merz Poetry 3.1- HC stack; DaDA poetry/haiku generator from editable parts
of speech lists.

Neologism Dictionary- HC stack; invented word collection with definitions.

PataLiterator- HC stack; word synthesizer

TextMangler- application; analyzes input text and generates output with
same word pair/triads. Similar to BABBLE above for MS DOS but without the
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