Cairo Speech Word Graph

By: Jeff Clark    Date: Thu, 04 Jun 2009

Here is another way to look at Obama's speech in Cairo calling for A New Beginning with Muslims. It uses a standard node link graph to show which words were used near each other in the text. There are virtual springs connecting words that are used frequently together and forces pushing apart nodes so they don't overlap too much. The nodes in orange have been fixed to a certain location and the other nodes move based on the springs and forces until a stable configuration is reached. This allows us to stretch out the graph and easily see where terms lay along a spectrum between 2 or more words of interest.

This first view shows that there was more discussion of 'peace' than 'war' and that words like 'palestinian', 'israel', and 'god' were highly associated with 'peace' relative to the other highlighted words.

Click image to see a larger version

This second view below is of the same graph but with different words pegged in place. The terms 'nuclear' 'weapons' and 'united' 'states' are both closer to 'iran' than the other countries. Similarly, 'women' 'denied' 'equal' is more associated with 'afghanistan'.

Click image to see a larger version

An obvious way to improve these would be to use word stemming to combine different forms of the same word. For example, 'muslim' and 'muslims' would use one node, as would 'peaceful' and 'peace'. This would reduce the number of nodes and probably more clearly expose any relationships.

The code to construct these was written with Processing and makes use of the excellent Traer Physics library.


Obama Cairo Speech StreamGraph
John Lennon Word Portrait