Г-н Фаршеклоакин (spamsink) wrote in linguaphiles,
Г-н Фаршеклоакин
spamsink
linguaphiles

The "widest path" word

Here's a linguistic experiment: take a word list of a language, find the most frequent first letter. Among the words starting with that letter, find the most frequent second letter, etc. until a complete word is formed (or several words, in case of ties).

Using the file that comes with a spell-checker in Linux (/usr/share/dict/american-english), I got "star" and "state". Upd: using another, larger one (483523 lines, /usr/share/dict/linux.words) I got "substantial". Hmmm...

As far as I remember from a very old article from a (then-)Soviet popular science magazine, the corresponding words in Russian are простор (prostor, spaciousness) and простота (prostota, simplicity). An interesting similarity: in both English and Russian the ties are -r vs -tV.

When I first read about this word game - I think I was about 10 y.o. at the time - I tried the same trick, albeit crudely, with a 50,000 word French-Russian dictionary, counting pages and columns rather than individual words for the first few letters, and got contrepoids (counterweight).

What is the "widest path" word in your language?
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