Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2007.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

An active Spanish vocabulary

Posted 12 January 2007 in english, spanish, and vocabulary

I enjoy having a large active vocabulary. I delight in archaic words and obscure turns-of-phrase. With that in mind, I sat down and wrote a dirty script to provide some basic statistics about the front page of my blog, and indeed those of several of my friends as well. I chose some fairly simple metrics:


The total number of words on the first page of the person's blog.


The number of individual words in use.


Disposable words are words that are used exactly once.


Disposable words divided by total words. I think that this is a reasonable metric for the diversity of the words on the page.
Name Total Unique Disposable Percentage

Kurt| 2782| 1045| 713| 25.6%

Allan| 2693| 919| 581| 21.2%

Dan| 4683| 1483| 951| 20.3%

Jesi| 7130| 1777| 1081| 15.2%

So what's the point? And why did I use the word "Spanish" in the title?

The point is that I'm having trouble expressing myself in Spanish. We had an activity in class today in which we had to describe people in photographs. One of the photos had a picture of a man that I could only describe as "stern". ¿Cómo se dice "stern" en español? Yo no sé.

It is difficult to lose my ability to communicate precisely. Like playing the piano with gloves on, I have lost my verbal dexterity, and it's decidedly frustrating.