Oulipo sequences

After yesterday’s post, now I am starting to wonder about questions that touch on sequences of words with mathematical properties embedded in our English lexicon. For example, what is the longest run of words like the six words (Cave, Dave, Eave, Fave, Gave, Have) in yesterday’s post?

More specifically, what is the longest run of words created by marching the first letter up through the alphabet? Allowing slang and technical words makes it easier, as in: Bat Cat Dat Eat Fat Gat Hat. But that may be cheating.

If you make easier rules, as in “all words that vary in just their first letter”, then the space grows considerably larger. For example: Bar Car Ear Far Jar Mar Oar Par Tar War Yar.

Under that second set of rules, what is the largest set of words possible? Can somebody reading this figure that out?

2 Responses to “Oulipo sequences”

  1. Rhema says:

    Here’s my results, based on a scrabble dictionary from https://raw.githubusercontent.com/benjamincrom/scrabble/master/scrabble/dictionary.json .

    The output shows the number of letters, followed by the max number of words, and an example word set with that max.

    2: 12 bo, do, go, ho, jo, lo, mo, no, so, to, wo, yo
    3: 17 bat, cat, eat, fat, gat, hat, kat, lat, mat, oat, pat, qat, rat, sat, tat, vat, wat
    4: 17 bill, dill, fill, gill, hill, jill, kill, mill, nill, pill, rill, sill, till, vill, will, yill, zill
    5: 17 bills, dills, fills, gills, hills, jills, kills, mills, nills, pills, rills, sills, tills, vills, wills, yills, zills
    6: 13 capped, dapped, gapped, happed, lapped, mapped, napped, rapped, sapped, tapped, wapped, yapped, zapped
    7: 13 capping, dapping, gapping, happing, lapping, mapping, napping, rapping, sapping, tapping, wapping, yapping, zapping
    8: 8 bounding, founding, hounding, mounding, pounding, rounding, sounding, wounding
    9: 6 battering, mattering, nattering, pattering, tattering, yattering
    10: 4 cozinesses, dozinesses, fozinesses, oozinesses
    11: 6 dustinesses, fustinesses, gustinesses, lustinesses, mustinesses, rustinesses
    12: 3 billionaires, millionaires, zillionaires
    13: 3 focalizations, localizations, vocalizations
    14: 3 bootlessnesses, footlessnesses, rootlessnesses
    15: 2 capaciousnesses, rapaciousnesses
    16: 2 auspiciousnesses, suspiciousnesses
    17: 2 decentralizations, recentralizations
    18: 2 deconstructionists, reconstructionists
    19: 2 deindustrialization, reindustrialization
    20: 2 deindustrializations, reindustrializations
    21: 1 acetylcholinesterases
    22: 2 deinstitutionalization, reinstitutionalization
    23: 2 deinstitutionalizations, reinstitutionalizations
    24: 1 dichlorodifluoromethanes

  2. admin says:

    Nicely done!

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