Hip-Hop, Wu-Tan Clan, Vocabulary, and Shakespeare

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Hip-Hop, Wu-Tan Clan, Vocabulary, and Shakespeare

Postby zenmonkey » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:07 pm

I'm a language fan and a certain hip-hop genre is certainly about smart poetics full of allegorical and allusion meaning.
I just stumbled across a vocabulary study on the comparative size of the vocabulary used by hip-hop artists and Shakespeare.

Thought I'd share.

It starts:
Literary elites love to rep Shakespeare’s vocabulary: across his entire corpus, he uses 28,829 words, suggesting he knew over 100,000 words and arguably had the largest vocabulary, ever. ...


Maybe not. Read the rest:

https://pudding.cool/2017/02/vocabulary/

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 20.03.13.png
Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 20.03.13.png (247.55 KiB) Viewed 414 times


And just to give you a taste, in case you've never heard of him, Aesop Rock:

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Re: Hip-Hop, Wu-Tan Clan, Vocabulary, and Shakespeare

Postby reineke » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:46 pm

More examples of "word power" = quantity.

Kanye West has a larger vocabulary than Bob Dylan, according to study

"The results are fascinating: Eminem has the largest vocabulary, and it’s not even close. His 8,818 words are nearly 2,000 more than second place finisher, Jay Z (6,899). Tupac is No. 3 at 6,596 words. Sensing a trend yet? Of the top six artists with the largest vocab, five are hip-hop acts. No. 4 is Kanye West (5,069) — though it’s not clear if musixmatch counts made-up Yeezus words like “swagoo” and “cray” as part of that number. No. 6? The Black Eyed Peas, sigh.

Bob Dylan is the only non-rapper in the top six with a lexicon of 4,883 words. Bilingual musicians Julio Inglesias and Andrea Bocelli follow in the No. 7 and 8 positions.

Other noteworthy placements: Prince (No. 11), Pink Floyd (18), R.E.M. (21), Madonna (24), Queen (36), Taylor Swift (40), Rihanna (49), and Led Zeppelin (62). As for The Beatles? They have the 76th largest vocabulary of top-selling artists, proving that popularity and word power aren’t necessarily correlated."

https://consequenceofsound.net/2015/07/ ... abs-music/

"Love, Love, Love": The Beatles Kept It Simple, Word-Wise

"The Fab Four used just 688 words in their first three albums compared to 1890 used by Elvis Costello and 1748 by David Bowie.

In the Beatles' defense, it can be noted that they used these words effectively — and that they used them correctly.

The Beatles can claim no generational excuse, as bands of their era were using richer vocabularies than they are today, following a steady, decade-by-decade decline. Perhaps the Beatles's early verbal economy might be chalked up to regional custom?"

https://www.vocabulary.com/articles/blo ... word-wise/
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Re: Hip-Hop, Wu-Tan Clan, Vocabulary, and Shakespeare

Postby reineke » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:47 pm

Shakespearean mythbusting

The Language Machine

"No other aspect of Shakespeare’s writing has been more often declared incomparable than his supposedly unrivaled vocabulary. The claim that Shakespeare coined more new words than anyone else — in its most extreme form, that he invented half the words in the language — is just a more exaggerated version of the same idea: that no other writer was as poetically inspired; as much in charge of, rather than subject to, language; a master, a wizard, a king of words. (For my critique of some recent assertions about Shakespeare’s invented words, see this post from a few months ago.)

David Crystal has recently argued that Shakespeare’s much-fêted verbal prodigiousness is something of a red herring. For one thing, the most frequently bandied-about figure of 30,000 words is inflated to the extent that it counts all variant forms of a word separately: so Shakespeare doesn’t just get credit for knowing the word “ask,” but also for knowing how to conjugate it (ask’st, asks, asketh, asked, asking) — six for the price of one."

http://www.dispositio.net/archives/501

I'd love to see a comparison with Rabelais

http://gutenberg.readingroo.ms/1/2/0/12 ... image-0005
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Re: Hip-Hop, Wu-Tan Clan, Vocabulary, and Shakespeare

Postby zenmonkey » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:45 pm

I knew I could count on you. 8-)

Despite the dubious total vocabulary and words counts 'stats', I found it interesting that what is basically a variability of use study gave such results. Aes and Wu Tang definitely play with words in an interesting manner.

If you are into that.
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Re: Hip-Hop, Wu-Tan Clan, Vocabulary, and Shakespeare

Postby reineke » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:41 pm

zenmonkey wrote:I knew I could count on you. 8-)

Despite the dubious total vocabulary and words counts 'stats', I found it interesting that what is basically a variability of use study gave such results. Aes and Wu Tang definitely play with words in an interesting manner.

If you are into that.


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Re: Hip-Hop, Wu-Tan Clan, Vocabulary, and Shakespeare

Postby rdearman » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:42 pm

Humm... wonder how Def Bond would fair?

Or Stromae?
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Re: Hip-Hop, Wu-Tan Clan, Vocabulary, and Shakespeare

Postby zenmonkey » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:19 pm

rdearman wrote:Humm... wonder how Def Bond would fair?
Or Stromae?


Definitely both excellent wordsmiths!

And along the vein of word play in French.

slow to start but ....


You know who is an impressive wordsmith - Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull - recently saw him in concert and went and reread a lot of lyrics. Good music is definitely a great learning tool.
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