I’ve been playing with Wordle recently. It creates word clouds, showing the most frequently occurring words in a given block of text after a set of stop words, such as “the”, are removed, with font size indicating the relative frequency of words. It’s a fancier version of the tag cloud. Here is a wordle for my blog.
They’re pretty good at giving an idea of what something is about. Perhaps they can also help the language learner.
Here is a wordle word cloud for Les Trois Mousquetaires.
This shows who are the main characters, and a few common words that don’t appear to have been excluded via the stop list. When no words are filtered, we get something like this.
Really it’s just a pretty word frequency list, and frequency is one consideration for deciding whether a word is worth learning. If you want to get some idea of what are the important words to know for a particular text and you have the text handy, Wordle is an aesthetically pleasing way to find out.