Coachella-glish vs English: Band Names and Letter Frequencies

The annual Coachella music festival in southern California is coming up later this week, so I thought it might be fun to have a closer look. As I’m over-fond of pointing out, Coachella band-names are a distinct dialect of English, prone to jarring combinations of words in distinctive linguistic crashes. They lend themselves to borrowed fake names (Rabbits in the Precambrian, etc.), and even contests to come up with the best fake band-names. (Note: This is separate from the fake Coachella posters that appear this time of year.

In the spirit of science, or something, I downloaded the official lineup of 182 bands appearing at Coachella 2011. I then calculated letter frequencies for the constituent 1,975 characters. I compared the distribution of these characters by letter to the standard letter frequencies for English (ETAON…etc.), thus producing a differential between expected and actual. I produced statistical scores for the differences, allowing a test of significance for which letters were more or less common in Coachella band names — Coachella-glish — than in English.

The following graph summarizes the results. The blue bars are Coachella band-name letter frequencies, while the red bars are standard English frequencies by letter. If a letter is circled in green then that means it is statistically significantly more likely to be found in a Coachella band name; if it is circled in red then that means it is statistically less likely to be bound in a Coachella name than in normal English. For example, A,B and G are statistically significantly more likely to be found in Coachella names than in normal English, while F, H, I and are less likely. [-]


When I get a moment, I’ll also post the results for band names first letters. That too deviates in interesting ways from English.