First, pick your favorite consonant in a language you speak fluently. This consonant is to be thought of as a sound, not a written letter… so the /k/ sound in ‘kite’ and ‘cream’ is the same consonant even though they’re spelled differently, and the ‘c’ in ‘caviar’ and ‘ceiling’ are different consonants, even though they’re spelled the same.
Open your dictionary to a section containing words that begin with that consonant.
Find a monosyllabic word in the dictionary beginning with that consonant. (If the language you are using does not have a large supply of monosyllabic words, simply use roots.)
Write it on your sheet of paper. (Or preferably use a word processor.)
Find another monosyllabic word beginning with that consonant. If it is very similar to the first word in some way, write it on the same line as your first word. Otherwise skip down a few lines and put the second word on a new line.
Find yet another monosyllabic word beginning with this consonant. If it is very similar to either of the first two words, then put it on the same line. Otherwise put it on a new line.
Continue to do this for about 2 hours with as many monosyllabic words in the dictionary as you can.
All the words on a single line, or in a single class, should have some single fairly narrow element of meaning in common and should begin with the consonant you have chosen. How narrow should this element of meaning be? Remember that the purpose of this experiment is to determine for yourself whether my claims are true. So the class should be narrow enough that it seems to you to be highly unlikely that the semantic similarity of these two words is mere coincidence. I generally begin by combining words into a single class which are about as closely related in meaning as ‘flame’ and ‘fire’, or ‘bloat’ and ‘bulge’ or ‘slide’ and ‘slither’. (If you know something about etymology, forget it. Don’t assume you know where the words came from.)
Result: Within two hours, you will find that about 70% of those monosyllabic words fit in a very few very narrowly defined and related classes. Each word will fit on average in about 2 classes. If you give the experiment 20 hours, 95% of the words will fit in a few very narrowly defined classes slightly reorganized, and the average word will fit in about 3.5 classes.
If you speak a second language, take those same consonants, if they exist, from the other language and continue on the same sheet of paper. See if your original consonant doesn’t work more or less the same in both languages.
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