Syllable Lists

In this article we introduce how the syllable lists in the WordCreator are structured and how you can create or adapt your own syllable lists.

The article is divided into the following sections:

If you have never worked with the WordCreator, we recommend to read the introduction first.

Structure of Syllable Lists

The WordCreator always uses the syllable list that is currently set in the "Used Syllables" box in the main window. The syllables in this box are freely editable and can be changed and edited at any time.

Each line of the syllable list corresponds to a new syllable. The structure of each line is as following:


First of all, there is a number indicating the frequency of the syllable (we will come to this soon). After that, there is a space dividing frequency and syllable. At last, that is the syllable itself. The syllable can consist of arbitrary characters including spaces. The syllable can be as long as you want.

Let us have a look at an example:

1 A
1 B

In this example, we would like to work with the elements "A" and "B", both elements should occur with the same frequency. Therefore, we have used the same number for both elements.

The numbers do not have to meet any criteria. It is neither necessary that they are all together resulting in a specific sum nor do they have to have a specific length or size. The only thing that is important is the relation between the numbers: If both numbers are the same, the syllables defined behind them will occur with the same probability, if both numbers are differing, the elements will accordingly occur with different frequencies.

In other words, the example above could also be written using higher numbers:

129 A
129 B

Here we are using the number 129 instead of 1. However, the created words would be similar because the relation is the same.

Syllables with different Frequencies

In the next example, we would like to weight two letters differently:

2 A
6 B

Here, the number for B is three times higher than number for A. Therefore, under ideal circumstances, B will occur three times more than A.

Provided, of course, the rules for readability do not restrict this. If you would like to create readable words and the only elements are A and B, it is only possible to create words with A and B alternating. Of course, this would lead to more words beginning with B compared to A, but especially in long words, both characters would appear nearly in the same frequency.

Hence, you will better see the probability distribution in longer lists. For example in the next example.

100 A
100 B
001 E

In this list, we have defined the elements A, B and E where A and B should occur with the same probability and E with much less frequency. With this list, you will get words like ABAB or BABA very often compared to words containing an E.

By the way, we have used leading zeros at "001" in the list above (the same applies to the lists available in the WordCreator). The leading zeros are only used because of clarity so that you can better see the letters at the same position under each other. You can also write 1 instead of 001 having the same effect.

Combination of different Types of Syllables

As already mentioned, the length or the structure of the defined syllables does not matter. So, also syllables of different types can be mixed with each other as desired.

2 A
2 2

In this syllable list, we have, for example, defined the four elements "A", "BE BU", "COM" and "2". All elements should have the same probability and it doesn't matter that one of the elements contains a space, another element only consists of one letter, another consists of three letters, while the last element contains no letters at all but consists of a digit.

Despite this unequal structure and content of these four syllables, alone the frequencies as well as possible restrictions due to the readability rules are decisive for where and how often the syllables in question are used and built into the generated words.

Positions of the Syllables in the generated Words

Up to now, the position of a syllable within a word does not play a role. With all rules we have used so far, syllables are allowed at each position in a word.

However, it is also possible to define elements that are only allowed to appear at the beginning, at the end, in the middle or at another defined position within a word. How to do that can be seen in the next examples.

01 A
01 C
01 E
1B K
1M I
1E D

In this syllable list, all characters should be used with the same frequency. The letters A, C and E are allowed to appear at every position, the letters K, I and D are only allowed to occur at specific positions. As you can see, we have written "B" (begin) behind the number for K. This means, that K should only be set at the beginning of a word. Accordingly, M stands for middle and E for the end of a word.

Using this list, we are able to produce words like KID, CID, KECA, ECID or ECA, but no words such as DIK or ICE.

With the following rules, a direct positioning is possible:

1P1 K
1P2 I
1P3 D
1P4 O

The letter "P" followed by a number specifies the exact position within a word. In the example, the letters K, I, D and O should have the same probability. K should only at position 1 in a word (P1), I only at position 2, D only at the third place and O at the forth.

Using this list, it will only be possible to create the word "KIDO". With adding "1P1 L" to the list, the list will produce the words "KIDO" or "LIDO" but nothing else.

However, you can also define positions relatively from the beginning or the end:

01L1 A
01L2 C
01R2 I
01R1 D
0001 E
0001 F

L1 means that the element is allowed to appear at the first position (from the left), L2 means, that the element can appear at one of the first two positions. Accordingly, R1, R2, R3 and so on are standing for the positions from behind (from right). Using this list, words like ACID, CEFI or EFID will be produced. We have added the letters E and F (for each position) to be able to create readable words in each case.

Comments in Syllable Lists

If you want to add comments to your syllable lists, you can simply precede the line or the lines in question with a number sign. As soon as a line begins with the character #, this line is no longer considered in the sense of a syllable for the generation of words.

An example for a syllable list with comments is the following list:

# Vowels
1 A
1 E
1 U
# Consonants
1 B
1 C
1 D
#1 F

On the one hand, this example list uses comments for the two headings "Vowels" and "Consonants" below which the corresponding letter types are grouped. On the other hand, with the help of a comment, the syllable "F" in this list has been deactivated, so that this syllable respectively letter is not used when this syllable list is applied.

Incidentally, the two headings "Vowels" and "Consonants" would not have been used as syllables for the generation of words, even if they had not been commented out here. The reason for this is that the strings "Vowels" and "Consonants" do not contain any indication of frequency and therefore do not correspond to the required structure of a syllable definition. Only if you write "1 Vowels" and "2 Consonants", as one possible example, those words would be used as syllables. However, it makes nevertheless sense to also comment out pure text with a # character, since the WordCreator checks each syllable list before it is used and indicates if a syllable list contains syllables without frequencies. So, to avoid this hint before word generation, you should always use "real" comments.

Predefined and automatically generated Syllable Lists

Of course, you do not have to create each syllable list manually. In the menu "Syllable Lists", you can find syllable lists with frequency profiles from different languages and you can create your own random lists out of arbitrary alphabets or own character lists. Additionally, in the settings of the syllable list, you can define in which form the lists should be loaded.

Furthermore, you can also use the counter in order to determine the frequency of letters from an arbitrary text. After that, you can just right click the result and select "Use as Syllable List" from the context menu in order to directly create new words from your results.