Lodestar could be a red herring meant to throw sleuths off track, some experts say. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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WASHINGTON: Language detectives say that the key clues to who wrote the anonymous New York Times opinion piece slamming U.S. President Donald Trump may not be the odd and glimmering "lodestar," but the itty-bitty words that people usually read right over: "I," "of" and "but".One political scientist figures there are about 50 people in the Trump administration who fit the Times' description as a senior administration official and could be the author. The key would be to look at how they write, the words they use, what words they put next to each other, spelling, punctuation and even tenses, experts say.One of the favorite techniques of Juola and other experts is to look at what's called "function words"."You look for clues and you try to assess the usefulness of those clues," Argamon said.But he is less optimistic that the Trump opinion piece case will be cracked for various reasons, including the Times' editing for style and possible efforts to fool language detectives with words that someone else likes to use such as "lodestar". In about an hour, Juola fed two Rowling books, "The Cuckoo's Calling" and six other novels into his computer, analyzed the language patterns with four different systems and concluded Rowling did it.Juola said experts in the field can generally tell introverts from extroverts, men from women, education level, age, location – almost everything but astrological sign.
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