Friday, October 28, 2011

On Language: the draft plan's word cloud

Here's what generated for me when I asked it to review the full text of the University of Victoria's 2011 draft Strategic Plan. As you likely know already, the larger the word, the more often it appears in the text, so it offers an approximate computational analysis of its vocabulary choices and hence its thematic focus:

Now, that word "environment" at the bottom of the image does appear 37 times in the text, but remember that 11 of those appearances are in the phrase "learning environment," and that only 4 of those appearances have anything to do with what's generally referred to as the natural environment.

I don't have a problem with the preponderance of words like "research," or "university," or "engagement." Indeed, much of the university's rhetoric is about more or less laudable aims. The problem is that the draft Plan is silent on any and all questions of ecology. This is a human-only word cloud, just like the plan is a human-only plan.

No comments:

Post a Comment