Subscribe to Blog via Email
April 2021 M T W T F S S « Mar 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
What decides if a word is easy to learn due to similarity with a known one?
It’s an interesting question, OP. I wonder whether too much similarity will make a word less easy to learn, not more, due to the potential for confusion.
There can’t be a categorical difference for when a word switches from similar to dissimilar. It’s not like a distance of 3 means similar and a distance of 4 means dissimilar. But here’s some starting points:
- The Damerau–Levenshtein distance is a linguistically appropriate metric for how different two strings are: it allows for not only deletion and addition of letters, but also transposition and substitution.
- You will presumably want to include syllable count in your metric: two words will be more different if their syllable count is different (meaning additional vowels). So in the distance metric, vowels count for more than consonants.
- OTOH if the two words are related through morphology, e.g. derivational morphology, they belong to the same family, and all difference metrics are off: the two words are related through a morphological rule.