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In a message dated 3/12/01 12:14:55 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
[log in to unmask] writes:


> . The English alphabet is limited to 26 
> letters. How many words can be invented? 

I'd assume that if we limit the length of a "word" to 26 letters,  the answer 
would be 26 to the 26th power. This doesn't mean all the combinations would 
be pronounceable by any given population. As an English speaker, I have 
trouble with African words that begin with "ng." But at least in theory, one 
could imagine a population able to pronounce any of the words. Whether to 
make some accommodation for how many consonants can fall in a sequence, or 
how many vowels a "word" has to have might be moot. Languages (e.g., Biblical 
Hebrew) have been written without vowels).

My point is, that if this is your idea of an infinite set, I don't think it 
actually is, unless you want to set no limit on the number of letters in a 
word.

pat

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<HTML><FONT FACE=arial,helvetica><FONT  SIZE=3 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial Narrow" LANG="0"><B>In a message dated 3/12/01 12:14:55 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
<BR>[log in to unmask] writes:
<BR>
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=2 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0"></B>
<BR><BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=CITE style="BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff 2px solid; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">. The English alphabet is limited to 26 
<BR>letters. How many words can be invented? </FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=3 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0"></BLOCKQUOTE>
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=3 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial Narrow" LANG="0"><B>
<BR>I'd assume that if we limit the length of a "word" to 26 letters, &nbsp;the answer 
<BR>would be 26 to the 26th power. This doesn't mean all the combinations would 
<BR>be pronounceable by any given population. As an English speaker, I have 
<BR>trouble with African words that begin with "ng." But at least in theory, one 
<BR>could imagine a population able to pronounce any of the words. Whether to 
<BR>make some accommodation for how many consonants can fall in a sequence, or 
<BR>how many vowels a "word" has to have might be moot. Languages (e.g., Biblical 
<BR>Hebrew) have been written without vowels).
<BR>
<BR>My point is, that if this is your idea of an infinite set, I don't think it 
<BR>actually is, unless you want to set no limit on the number of letters in a 
<BR>word.
<BR>
<BR>pat</B></FONT></HTML>

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