#2263: Stressearch

When I’m trying to recall a name or fill in a crossword clue, I often find myself knowing the correct stress pattern without being able to remember the exact word(s).

For example, I spent a week last year trying to recall the name of the actor who played ‘The Joker’ most recently. His name was ‘blah blah-blah’, with his first name beginning with H…maybe.


Today’s invention is a dictionary plug-in which helps with this kind of tip of the tongue memory recall.

Since online dictionaries usually contain both phoneme and stress pattern information (eg ‘Definition’ ?def-?-?nish-?n ), a user would be able to narrow his search for a word or phrase by specifying the pattern of stresses in such a nebulous memory trace eg blah-blah, blah-blah-blah.

This would be particularly useful to poets who often search for a particular sound pattern with an appropriate meaning, I’m told. It would also have helped when I was trying recently to remember the names of the early North American explorers, blah-blah and Clark.

I find it interesting that we seem to store such a rhythmic representation, but that the link to the specific sounds is harder to make.