May 06, 2005


Every once in a while I see a hit on this page in my referrer logs that resulted from someone searching for the string "ahhhhh". I always wondered why anyone would search for such a thing (I often wonder this while looking at my referer logs), and one reason that came to me was to determine the frequency of occurrence of the various possible spellings of ahh.

With the internet, no question must remain unanswered (except maybe for the question of why I have such a hard time doing anything useful with my time?), so I spent a little time doing google searches for all the possible numbers of H's in the word.

One unlooked-for lesson learned in the process is that Google doesn't index words longer than 128 characters.

As for the frequency, as you'd expect, it's rather logarithmic. Here's the graph:

graph of relative frequencies of spellings of the word ah by number of occurrences of the letter h. Most are less than 10, but there is some interesting variation in the higher numbers.

(The strange x-axis labels are a byproduct of the combination of excel's brain-deadness and my own.)

The zone from 25 to about 35 is pretty interesting. Can't come up with a theory to explain it. I expected to see a major spike at around 79, but it's not there.

Here's the raw data from today if you want to do further analysis or animate it over time or something.

Posted by jeffy at May 6, 2005 05:32 PM

Ahh, that's pretty weird, J. It might have something
to do with how long people hold the key down and
the rate at which it autorepeats, and some
psychophysical function of human patience.

And there's plenty more weirdness, like, ahh,
search for
ah ahh ahhh ahhhh ahhhhh ahhhhhh ahhhhhhh
and see what google *thinks* you should be
searching for.

Finally, on that first point, it might have
something to do with your definition of "useful"

Posted by: Dan L at May 7, 2005 10:23 AM