BLICK - a phonotactic probability calculator

Bruce Hayes
Department of Linguistics

Version 1.0 (beta), July 22, 2012

Download the program

Function and purpose

Input: any string of English phonemes, expressed with a symbol set provided. It can be a real word or one you made up.

Output: a numerical value, inversely reflecting the phonotactic "goodness" (probability, well-formedness, word-likeness…) of the word. For more on the meaning of this score, see the manual.

Examples: the current version of BLICK predicts that ket [K EH1 T] should a completely perfect word of English (penalty score zero), that doit [D OY1 T] should be a somewhat peculiar word of English (score 3.094), and that nguhyee [NG AH H Y IY0] should be a pretty horrible word of English (score 12.295).  (Transcriptions in CMU notation; see program interface for translations.)

Purpose: providing a reference point for phonotactic probability in experimentation. This is the same purpose as the pioneering phonotactic model proposed by Vitevitch and Luce (2004); BLICK is a by-product of my efforts, with colleagues, to explore alternative approaches to phonotactic well-formedness based on phonological theory.

Quick start guide

1. Find a Windows machine
2. Download the program and unzip it.
3. Go into the folder thus created and click on the program, BLICK.exe.
4. Left side window is for individual words, right side is for a file name with words in it.
5. Valid transcription format is displayed on the interface.
6. If you need more help read the manual.

Accompanying files

Bug reports and feedback

To Bruce Hayes at

Back to Bruce Hayes's home page

Last revised 22 July 2012