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Word histogram

8 September, 2015 - 10:43

You should attempt the previous exercises before you go on. You can download my solution from You will also need

Here is a program that reads a file and builds a histogram of the words in the file:

import string
def process_file(filename):
hist = dict()
fp = open(filename)
for line in fp:
process_line(line, hist)
return hist
def process_line(line, hist):
line = line.replace('-', ' ')
for word in line.split():
word = word.strip(string.punctuation + string.whitespace)
word = word.lower()
hist[word] = hist.get(word, 0) + 1
hist = process_file('emma.txt')

This program reads emma.txt, which contains the text of Emma by Jane Austen.

process_file loops through the lines of the file, passing them one at a time to process_line. The histogram hist is being used as an accumulator.

process_line uses the string method replace to replace hyphens with spaces before using split to break the line into a list of strings. It traverses the list of words and uses strip and lower to remove punctuation and convert to lower case. (It is a shorthand to say that strings are “converted;” remember that string are immutable, so methods like strip and lower return new strings.)

Finally, process_line updates the histogram by creating a new item or incrementing an existing one.

To count the total number of words in the file, we can add up the frequencies in the histogram:

def total_words(hist):return sum(hist.values())

The number of different words is just the number of items in the dictionary:

def different_words(hist):return len(hist)

Here is some code to print the results:

print 'Total number of words:', total_words(hist)print 'Number of different words:', different_words(hist)

And the results:

Total number of words: 161080Number of different words: 7214