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Grove Word Lengths

In the previous post, we looked at how the Grove words (words with an initial gallows glyph) are distributed in the VMS, and how their frequency is explained by the use of cipher wheels to generate VMS words.

Marco commented on that post with the astute observation that if this generation scheme is valid then gallows initial words should be shorter than other words, on average, as only wheels 3 onwards are used to create them.

Here are the data: these show the lengths of Grove words compared with the lengths of other words that contain at least one gallows glyph:

This confirms that, yes, Grove words are on average shorter than other gallows words (by about 1 glyph) – perhaps more evidence for the validity of this scheme?

For interest (as requested by Rene), here are the distributions for EVA l and EVA r:

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  1. August 20, 2021 at 4:56 am


    I hate to ask, but which definition of Grove words did you use?
    – Only paragraph-initial words?
    – All words that seem to have a detachable initial gallows?

    • JB
      August 20, 2021 at 9:28 am

      Hi Rene: all words with an initial gallows glyph. Since these aren’t technically “Grove Words” I should perhaps call them “Bunn Words” 🙂

  2. August 22, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Hi Julian, since you probably have a script available…. Would the same effect be seen for words starting with Eva-l or Eva-r ?
    Such relatively unusual words would become more ‘usual’ if they had an additional ‘o’ in front…

    • JB
      August 22, 2021 at 10:01 pm

      Hi Rene, are you asking whether words containing Eva-l (or -r) are longer than words with initial Eva-l (or -r)? I can certainly generate an answer to that in short order, if so.

      I added those distributions to the post – they look very similar. My guess is that words beginning EVA-o would *not* show this effect – because EVA-o is on the first wheel?!

  3. August 23, 2021 at 8:14 am

    Great, thanks!

    In a piece of analysis I am doing, I am supposing that words starting with Eva-l or Eva-r could be the result of dropping a leading Eva-o. It is not a very important point, but it is very nice to see these statistics, which support (but not yet confirm of course) this notion.

    We might be getting closer to a meaningful definition of “Bunn words”.

    • JB
      August 23, 2021 at 9:12 am

      Sounds interesting! Let me know if I can help with plots etc. 🙂

  1. April 27, 2022 at 8:47 pm

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