Blog Post 2:Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions

While trying to discover the validity of Professor Jakacki’s hypothesis, a new question came to my mind regarding the words “board” and “Cossack.” I want to know how closely “board” and “Cossack” correlate to each other in Linn’s writing and whether or not Linn uses these words more when on land or out at sea. To discover these questions, I will plug both words into Voyant (http://voyant-tools.org/).

To start solving my questions, I’m going to first plug in “board” to the Cirrus. After doing this, one can see that “board” appears 69 times. By looking at the corpus reader, one can see where in the text “board” is most frequent. Taking a peek to the right of the screen at the words trend panel, one can tell that the usage of “board” tends to spike in segments 4,5 and 7. These spikes are on January 6th, January 25th and February 9th (a Sunday to be exact). One must also remark on the sharp drop that the usage of “board” experiences in segment 6 (February 6th), which is between January 25th and February 9th.

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To completely answer my question, I must not plug “Cossack” into Voyant and look for the correlation. Cossack appears 46 times throughout the diary, and tends to have the same frequency of appearance as “board.” To me, this is not a surprise because both words have to do with ships and more likely than not, when Linn is talking about ships, he is probably talking about the Cossack. The Cossack experiences its spikes on January 6th (segment 4) and February 9th (segment 7). The only difference between the two words is that the largest decline in usage happens on January 9th (segment 3).

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After looking at both words in Voyant, I can now see that there is a strong correlation between “board” and “Cossack”. On top of this, the usage of these words spikes when Linn is onboard a ship (most of the time it is the Cossack). There are many reasons behind this. In my opinion, Linn tends to use words regarding ships when he is in fact on the ship. However, there are many possible reasons as to why Linn does this (mood, weather, time of day). The only real way of knowing would be speaking to Linn himself.

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