The Joking Computer
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You can try out the Joking Computer online NOW on this site.
Or you can download a copy to use on your own PC.

When do words sound the same?

When making a joke, the computer often has to find words that sound the same. These kind of words are called homophones (pronounced "homm-oh-fones").

Finding homophones is quite easy for people, but rather hard for a computer. To decide whether two words sound the same, a person would read them aloud, and listen to the sounds.

Try out the BBC's homophones game.

For each word in its dictionary, the Joking Computer has a line of symbols showing what the word sounds like (its "phonetic form").
For example:
- "going" has the phonetic form { g * ou }.> i ng >
- "dictionary" has the phonetic form
  { d * i k . sh @ . n ~ e . r ii}

The Joking Computer also has a way of comparing two lines of phonetic symbols to measure how alike they are, as a number between 0.0 and 1.0.

It counts two words as "sounding much the same" if it gets more than 0.85 when it compares the lines of symbols for the two words.

  Back to Stage 1: Choosing answer parts


  To Stage 2: Choosing question parts


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