Thursday, October 18, 2012

I before E except after C?

A friend recently posted on his Facebook page the comment, "I before E except after C? Weird!" Another person, perhaps not realising that the comment was ironic, added the next bit, "unless it sounds A as in neighbour or weigh".

This got me wondering about the validity of this 'rule', so I did a little checking. Some time ago I had downloaded the SOWPODS word list and created a database from it, so time to do a few searches.

The results were illuminating:
  • 475 words containing 'ei'.
  • Only 49 of those words contained 'cei'.
  • Of the remaining 376 words, 109 have the long 'a' sound.
This leaves 267 words that contain 'ei' but where it does not follow a 'c' or sound like a long 'a'. We could rule out another 57 words that contain 'ei' because they begin with the prefix 're-' or 'de-', e.g. 'reinforce', and another 32 words that end with 'ing' or '-ism' or '-ist' or '-ise/ize', e.g. 'theism'. This still leaves 180 words that definitely do not follow the rule, compared to only 158 that do.

Esperanto, anyone?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Tab Sweep

So, I'm borrowing an idea from Tim Bray and posting up what's on my browser tabs. The aim is to do this regularly, so that I'm posting something each week.

First up, Ongoing - I've been following Tim's blog for years now, and there's always something good in there.

Next, web2py - I've been looking at this python web framework as a more accessible option for my Software Design students - so far, I like it a lot more than Django, but it's early days.

IronEdge - my brother-in-law Andrew directed me to this - he can't say enough good things about their products. (I'm not into the fitness thing like he is, but I think it may be time for me to start getting back into some sort of shape.)

A post in the Atlantic by Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) about independent student projects.

A prezi about Evernote for teachers.

Steve Hargadon's Teacher 2.0 experience on MightyBell and the associated Classroom 2.0 site.

A series of programming challenges on which I'm looking at creating solutions for in multiple programming languages.

Tutorials on papier mache at - daughter #1 is making a medieval Plague Doctor's mask for a History project.

And finally, something that appeals to my love of absurdity - a news item about how the town of Athens, Alabama is going to hold its first Athens Grease Festival - a "celebration of all things fried"!

On that last note, I fear an outbreak of similar town-name-as-theme inspired festivals across the USA - it could be very entertaining in places like Coffeeville MS, Parachute CA, or Elephant Butte NM, but maybe not so nice in Burnt Corn AL, Deadhorse AK, Mud Lick KY, or Roachdale IN.

And imagine the festival in Tuba City, Arizona!