Deformable Templates

Patterns in Language

Page Info

This page showcases a funny sentence maker. The framework for the process of creating the sentences is not very different from the process used to create and deform a 2-d shape. The generators are a little more abstract, and the results shown are more complicated than those discussed previously.

The generators can be thought of as locations within a sentence. The rules that regulate the construction of the sentences restrict which locations can be connected and how they can be connected. The diagram at the bottom of the page provides a helpful visualization of the rules. In the diagram, the locations in a sentence are denoted by circled numbers. The red arrows and the words are all part of the rules. The red arrows direct the flow of traffic over the locations, and the word(s) associated with each red arrow are the choices of how to get from one location to the next. Every time there is a choice, whether it be a word choice or a choice of the next location, there are probabilities that go along with each option. The higher probability of an option, the higher the chances are that the sentence maker will choose that option. Because this is an open pattern, unlike the closed (looped) patterns of 2-d shape boundaries, it makes sense that there are also rules to start and end the pattern. For this pattern of fairytale inspired sentences, the start rule will be that a pattern always begins with the location "1" and goes to locatoin "2" by the word "the". The end rule is that, if the path from the 11th location to the 12th location is chosen, then a "." will be the next character added to the sentence and the sentence will end directly afterwards.

This template is an example of how powerful deformable templates can be as a tool to help define and reproduce the patterns found in nature. With only a small library of words and rewriting rules, a set of sentence generators can be manipulated to create some fairly interesting (and funny) pieces of language.

Play around with it. Feel free to change the definition of words which will be put in their place in the diagram. Press the button to make a new sentence.


sentence generator