The Padacia
Notes from a pad in Oslo


20031229  

" A new computer program can tell whether a book was written by a man or a woman. The simple scan of key words and syntax is around 80% accurate on both fiction and non-fiction. The program's success seems to confirm the stereotypical perception of differences in male and female language use. Crudely put, men talk more about objects, and women more about relationships. Female writers use more pronouns (I, you, she, their, myself), say the program's developers, Moshe Koppel of Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, and colleagues. Males prefer words that identify or determine nouns (a, the, that) and words that quantify them (one, two, more)... "


The Gender Genie - a simplified version of an algorithm.

Calculations on two passages taken from Sarah & Ahmad:

1.
Aminah let her feet guide her, her mind too caught up with what she witnessed earlier to think of where to spend the night. When she found herself outside Sarah's bedroom window, she jumped when the window flew open just as she was about to toss a pebble at the wooden wall to rouse her friend. Sarah, who did not expect to see Aminah standing outside her window with her big bag, was equally surprised.

Aminah, who could hardly control her giggles as she thought of her mother's plan to matchmake her sister to Sarah's fiance, beckoned to her friend to join her. The two girls walked hand in hand to their usual meeting place by the river, Aminah trying hard to contain her excitement and not spill everything to Sarah before they were alone.

Female Score: 345
Male Score: 190


The Gender Genie thinks the author of the above passage is female.

2.
"It's too dark," said Sarah, halting their steps, "I'll turn back for a torchlight."

"And risk getting caught now that you're already out of the house when you're not supposed to be?" Aminah asked, and grabbing her friend's hand tighter said, "Come on, we can get there even with our eyes closed."

Accompanied by serenading crickets, a roosting dove's surprised coo (that's probably a burung hantu, said Aminah) and the secretive whisper of leaves in the warm night breeze, the girls reached the broken and abandoned sampan on the riverbank. They hitched their sarongs and sat on its edge facing each other - one recounting, the other listening...

Clouds abated, filtering the moonlight in glowing cotton; the mosquitoes danced around their sudden feast as impatient hands vainly brushed them away; and as the day's fifth and last call of the muezzin echoed from the distance, thus ended Aminah's story to a nonplussed Sarah.

Female Score: 158
Male Score: 215


The Gender Genie thinks the author of the passage above is male.

Both are correct.

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