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