Saturday, 21 February 2009

Playing with words

I find language really interesting and yesterday something struck me which also appeals to the human desire to find patterns in things (see last entry for another mention of that).

I realised a while ago that P_T was an interesting letter combination as pat, pet, pit, pot and put are all English words.  But I didn’t realise until last night that B_D also works along the same lines – and it got me thinking about how many such combinations of letters there are in English.

The two I find the most interesting are P_T and B_G because they don’t involve any unusual words at all.  Ones such as H_T and D_N involve some slightly odd (but still valid) words.

So, the outstanding questions in my mind are – how many three letter combinations are there which work? (We have eleven so far) and what is the longest combination (We have P_TTING which feels a bit like a cheat – other than that, we have L_ST and a few others which are only four letters)

If you’re the kind of person who likes to think about this kinda stuff then do let me know at dan@flusspferd.net if you find one longer than four letters which isn’t based directly on a three letter one – or if you can think of any more three letter ones.  For completeness’ sake the ones we have thought of so far are listed below

-n, –s

b-g, p-t, b-d, h-t, b-t, m-d, t-n, d-n, p-p, t-g, h-m

d-ne, m-re, l-st, p-ck

p-tting

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