[Date Index]
[Thread Index]
[Author Index]
Re: Mathematica skill level snippet(s)
*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
*Subject*: [mg104778] Re: Mathematica skill level snippet(s)
*From*: AES <siegman at stanford.edu>
*Date*: Mon, 9 Nov 2009 05:47:04 -0500 (EST)
*Organization*: Stanford University
*References*: <hd0t9u$82o$1@smc.vnet.net> <hd3n4j$a2k$1@smc.vnet.net> <hd6bbm$odf$1@smc.vnet.net>
In article <hd6bbm$odf$1 at smc.vnet.net>,
"Nasser M. Abbasi" <nma at 12000.org> wrote:
> > [Side question: How many total words and symbols are there in the
> > **full** Mathematica vocabulary?
> >
> > [I'm guessing maybe 3000 or 4000? Or even more?]
> For version 7, Length[Names[?System`*?]] results in 3429
>
> <http://12000.org/my_notes/compare_mathematica/index.htm>
>
> My theory is this: A Mathematica expert is someone have used more than 50%
> of these symbols. I am still working on my 5% :)
Fascinating results -- I'm very impressed that you've done this.
Lurking behind my original question is, admittedly, my continuing
concern that Wolfram, in its continuing attempt to make Mathematica into
a single app that does absolutely everything for everyone, is instead
creating a monster that has become increasing difficult for more and
more of its potential audience to use.
If you view Mathematica as a "second language" that its potential users
must learn to use and communicate in, the vocabulary size of Mathematica
then becomes one metric for measuring this.
I'm no expert on vocabulary sizes myself, and recognize that it's a
complex subject; but one readable essay on the subject seems to be:
<http://www1.harenet.ne.jp/~waring/papers/cup.html>
A few snippets from this essay (very heavily excerpted) are appended
below. There's a great deal more it; but I suggest that comparing it to
Mathematica's vocabulary size, and thinking about Mathematica as a
second language that users have to learn, ***and then use with absolute
precision***, is an instructive exercise.
----------
VOCABULARY SIZE, TEXT COVERAGE AND WORD LISTS
Paul Nation and Robert Waring
How much vocabulary does a second language learner need?
There are three ways of answering this question. One way is to ask "How
many words are there in the target language?" Another way is to ask "How
many words do native speakers know?" A third way is to ask "How many
words are needed to do the things that a language user needs to do?" We
will look at answers to each of these questions.
How many words are there in English?
Webster's 3rd has a vocabulary of around 54,000 word families. This is a
learning goal far beyond the reaches of second language learners and, as
we shall see, most native speakers.
How many words do native speakers know?
At present the best conservative rule of thumb that we have is that up
to a vocabulary size of around 20,000 word families, we should expect
that native speakers will add roughly 1000 word families a year to their
vocabulary size. That means that a five year old beginning school will
have a vocabulary of around 4000 to 5000 word families. A university
graduate will have a vocabulary of around 20,000 word families (Goulden,
Nation and Read, 1990). These figures are very rough and there is likely
to be very large variation between individuals.
For adult learners of English as a foreign language, the gap between
their vocabulary size and that of native speakers is usually very large,
with many adult foreign learners of English having a vocabulary size of
much less than 5000 word families in spite of having studied English for
several years. Large numbers of second language learners do achieve
vocabulary sizes that are like those of educated native speakers, but
they are not the norm.
How many words are needed to do the things a language user needs to do?
The significance of this information is that although there are well
over 54,000 word families in English, and although educated adult native
speakers know around 20,000 of these word families, a much smaller
number of words, say between 3,000 to 5,000 word families is needed to
provide a basis for comprehension. It is possible to make use of a
smaller number, around 2,000 to 3,000 for productive use in speaking and
writing. Hazenburg and Hulstijn (1996) however suggest a figure nearer
to 10,000 for Dutch as a second language.
---------------
Prev by Date:
**Re: Text on a curve**
Next by Date:
**Any Mathematica Programmers in/near Santa Monica, CA?**
Previous by thread:
**Re: Mathematica skill level snippet(s)**
Next by thread:
**Re: Mathematica skill level snippet(s)**
| |