The Copywriter December 2009

by Stratton Craig

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Lately, we’ve been inspired by the use of ‘word clouds’. As you can see in the clouds above some words are larger than others, indicating that they have been used more frequently in the piece of text. Not only does this provide an interesting image, but word clouds provide a great platform for analysing communications, something we have put into practice below when studying the Queen’s speeches of 2008 and 2009.

The Queen's speech to parliament is tightly structured, with the same format each year and each year it 'looks forward' and outlines the legislation that might be needed to combat pressing issues. But the word clouds lay bare subtle differences between 2008 and 2009.

In 2008 the words forward, bill, bring, commons, members, house and improve all occur frequently. We can get from this that there's been a shock to the nation's equilibrium and parliament is going to do something about it. Then we see that the word financial is the third biggest word in the cloud and we know that 2008 is the year that the financial world imploded. Around the edge words such as public, create, committed, continue, provide, people, promote, families and stability tell us that the UK Government acknowledges the suffering the downturn is causing.

So which words got more popular in 2009? Forward, continue and legislation are the three most common words now, so we know that the Government is continuing to push forward laws to improve the situation. And the fact that legislation has overtaken bills is an encouraging sign that proposals are becoming law. Progress! A word that strangely does not appear in either year.

Economic, work, services, introduce, strengthen and brought are also popular, again suggesting a new level of resolve and determination. The fact that ensure and ensured both make it into the cloud in 2009 confirms that the Government knows that it really does have to sound confident it's doing something. Least popular words each year? In 2008 it's probably help. In 2009 it's probably age. So not much comfort either year for the elderly.

Favourite Words

We're still running our Favourite Words campaign and so far we've had a fantastic response; cornucopia, hullabaloo, harbinger, discombobulate, jolly, nomenclature and palimpsest to name a few. So whether you like a word for the memories it conjures or merely for the way it sounds, simply reply to this email with your favourite word and a brief description as to why. Don't forget to look out for the most interesting examples on postcards early next year.

Merry Christmas

We're sure you are as pleased as we are that Christmas is fast approaching, so we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 2010 is set to be an exciting year for us; we'll make sure we keep you updated.

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