Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I'm apparently on a word-bender this week. In a recent article in Wordplay magazine, it was reported that a naturally occuring pangrammatic sentence of only 61 letters showed up in the Feb 17th issue of Entertainment Weekly.
"Then on Jan. 26, Her[zog happened by Joaquin Phoenix's car wreck and pulled the actor from the v]ehicle."

The letters between the brackets represent a 61-letter pangrammatic window - a consecutive block which contains all letters of the alphabet...

That 61-letter span is the smallest naturally occurring window yet discovered
A pangram is (from Wikipedia)
A pangram (Greek: pan gramma, "every letter"), or holoalphabetic sentence, is a sentence which uses every letter of the alphabet at least once.
Usually, they're used to show typefaces -- 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" is a designed pangram to show all the letters in the alphabet, as is "How razorback-jumping frogs can level six piqued gymnasts! "

But that particular sentence was written specifically. There appears to be an ongoing word-sleuth search to find naturally occuring pangrammatic sentences (which would seem to be something only savant-level "beautiful mind"-type people can see). I can't imagine that you can just "see" one of these -- I have to believe that some sort of software scans for it, but at least one page assures me that these "jump out" at people who are attuned to them.

However, the article is a bit misleading, as there have been several shorter sentences that qualify:
Lillie de Hagermann-Lindencrone's 1912 book In the Courts of Memory: "I sang, and thought I sang very well; but he just looked up into my face with a very quizzical expression, and said, 'How long have been singing, Mademoiselle?'" at 56 letters.

The May 2006 edition of the magazine reveal a 47-letter example found on the internet: "JoBlo's movie review of The Yards: Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Charlize Theron...
More listed here, and here even more here.

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