WordGenerator's graphical user interface


  1. Description
  2. Details
  3. Documentation
  5. Change Log
  6. Environment
  7. Bugs


WordGenerator generates hypothetical words from specifications of their syllable structure. You specify the maximum length of the words in syllables, the abstract structure of syllables in the language (in terms of such units as consonants and vowels or onsets and rhymes), and the actual sounds that comprise each abstract class (e.g. the list of vowels in the language) and WordGenerator then generates the words that conform to this specification.

Such lists are useful to field linguists exploring the vocabulary of a language and to designers of artificial languages. Random samples of such lists may also be of use to historical linguists wishing to simulate chance resemblances. The counts of the various syllable types and words of various lengths are automatically updated whenever relevant parameters are changed. This may be useful in teaching students about the combinatorics of languages.

All input is in UTF-8 Unicode. A number of tools are provided for entering non-ASCII characters, including clickable IPA charts and custom character entry widgets. Output defaults to UTF-8 Unicode, but other encodings may be selected.

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 Iwidgets (optional)
Current version1.9
Last modified2008-12-11
LicenseGNU General Public License, version 3


The program is largely self-explanatory, but an explanation of how to use it is available on the Help menu. Right-clicking over most headings brings up an explanation of the function of that section of the interface. Configuration files are explained in the file README_CONFIGURATION included with the distribution.

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For those for whom installing Tcl/Tk is a problem, the following are single-file executables that contain WordGenerator along with the Tcl interpreter and the necessary libraries (but not Iwidgets).


If you would like to be notified of new releases, subscribe to WordGenerator at Freshmeat.

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1.9 [2008-12-11]









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WordGenerator should run anywhere that Tcl/Tk runs. It is known to run on GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.

WordGenerator requires not only the basic Tcl/Tk distribution but the math::bignum package, which is a component of Tcllib and, optionally, the Iwidgets library. Iwidgets is needed only if you wish to use custom character insertion popups.

The easiest way to obtain the Tcl/Tk environment you need is to install the ActiveTcl distribution from ActiveState. This distribution provides the Tcl language, the Tk graphics library, and a bunch of extensions, including [incr tcl],[incr widgets], and Tcllib. Don't be concerned by the fact that ActiveState is a commercial outfit. The Tcl/Tk distribution that they provide is free as in both beer and speech. They make their money selling services and programming tools. The ActiveTcl distribution is currently available for: GNU/Linux, HP-UX, AIX, Solaris, Mac OS X, and MS Windows.

If you already have Tcl/Tk and just need to add iwidgets, you can obtain the package from the Sourceforge project site. On the download page you will find source and binary packages for both [incr Tcl/Tk], which is the basic part of this package, and [incr widgets], which is the part that contains the widgets. You will need to install both. (iwidgets is an alternative name for [incr widgets].)

Tcllib can be obtained from the Sourceforge project page.

For FreeBSD, Tcl and Tk are available at:

Note that FreeBSD has a different convention for naming the Tcl executables, which the Makefile supplied here does not account for. You will need to edit WordGenerator.tcl and change the fourth line from:

exec wish $0 -- $@


exec wish8.4. $0 -- $@

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Known Bugs

Invocation of a browser from the help system does not work under MS Windows or Mac OS X.

Back to Bill Poser's software page.