Word generation based on n-gram models, and a cli utility to generate said models

language, ngram, n-gram, markov, word, generator
npm install ngram-word-generator@1.2.0



Word generation based on n-gram models, and a cli utility to generate said models.

N-gram models (see on wikipedia) are often used among other things to generate sentences and can produce satisfying results, though the inherent lack of context tracking and actual grammar checking is a severe shortcoming. When used as a word generator this simple algorithm really shines at producing new, imaginary words. For example here are few names generated based on French firstnames - Mélaïde, Hadrigue, Laudence, Vestine, Pasien, Eulalisse - and on Irish firstnames - Ceallán, Muiríne, Toirdre, Finnbhach, Dáirtín, Éannailís.

A previous version of the project can be seen in use in Stochastèmes, a word generator based on poetic corpora.


  • Works in node and in browsers
  • A cli utility to do the heavy-lifting of generating n-gram models from text files
  • The generated models are standard json files, optimized for web transfer
  • Porting the client code to other languages should be trivial, the generated n-gram models can thus be used virtually anywhere

Installing and testing

With npm do:

npm install ngram-word-generator

It can also be installed globally to simplify the access to the cli utility:

npm install ngram-word-generator -g

Basic example

var makeGenerator = require('ngram-word-generator'),
    ngramModel = require('./irish-firstnames.json'); //generated with the cli utility

var generator = makeGenerator(ngramModel);


Public API


Create a generator based on a given n-gram model.


  • ngramModel : An n-gram model as generated by the cli utility.

generator(lengthHint, rngFunction)

Generate a word based on the n-gram model.


  • lengthHint : Suggest the desired word length. The nature of the algorithm makes it impossible to ensure the exact length of the result (except through brute-force).
  • rngFunction : Random number generator function. Default to Math.random.

generator.dictionary(lengthMin, lengthMax)

Generate a comprehensive dictionary (list) of all the generated words included in the given length range.


  • lengthMin : Minimum length of the words included in the dictionary.
  • lengthMax : Maximum length of the words included in the dictionary. Default to lengthMin.


The cli utility is used to generate the n-gram models

ngram-word-generator source.txt > model.json

In Unix-like environment, the cli utility can also be piped into :

cat source.txt | ngram-word-generator > model.json

ngram-word-generator sourceFile [options]

sourceFile must be an utf8 text file. No specific structure is required.


  • name: A name for the model, not directly used.
  • n: The order of the model (1: unigram, 2: bigram, 3: trigram, etc.). Default to 3.
  • minLength: The minimum length of the word considered in the generation of the model. Default to 4.
  • unique: Usually if multiple instances of a specific word is included in the source file, the model will be skewed toward generating similar words. Setting this option ensure this doesn't happen.
  • compress: Reduce the size of the model file, making it less readable and slightly less accurate.
  • excludeOriginal: The model will include the full list of the words included in the source file so that the generation can blacklist them.
  • filter: Character filtering option, either one the filters listed below or a regex. Default to 'extended'.


  • none: All non-whitespace characters
  • alphabetical: A to Z
  • numerical: 0 to 9
  • alphaNumerical: A to Z and 0 to 9
  • extended: A to Z and éèëêęėēúüûùūçàáäâæãåāíïìîįīóöôòõœøōñńß
  • extendedNumerical: A to Z, 0 to 9 and éèëêęėēúüûùūçàáäâæãåāíïìîįīóöôòõœøōñńß
  • french: A to Z and éèëêúüûùœàáäâæíïìîóöôòç
  • english: A to Z and œæ
  • oldEnglish: A to Z and þðƿȝæœ
  • chinese: All the Chinese characters
  • japanese: All the Japanese (and Chinese) characters
  • noSymbols: Exclude all symbols and punctuation from Latin unicode blocks and specific punctuation, symbols and dingbats unicode blocks.

Full example

ngram-word-generator source.txt --n=3 --minLength=4 --filter=noSymbols --compress --unique --excludeOriginal > model.json

With a custom regular expressions as filter (all characters out of the A-U range will be filtered out) :

ngram-word-generator source.txt --n=3 --minLength=4 --filter=/[^a-u]+/ig --compress --unique --excludeOriginal > model.json

Model generation without the CLI utility

The model generation being a costly process, it is recommended to use the cli utility described above.

var generateModel = require('ngram-word-generator/model-generation'); // specific entry point

var textData = ...; // retrieve a large text as a single string somehow

var ngramModel = generateModel(textData, {
    name: 'My n-gram model',
    filter: 'noSymbols',
    n: 3,
    minLength: 4,
    unique: false,
    excludeOriginal: true,
    compress: true


// generate a word with the model

var makeGenerator = require('ngram-word-generator');

var generator = makeGenerator(ngramModel);


generateModel(textData, options)

Generate an n-gram model based on a given text.

  • textData: Text corpus as a single, preferably large, string.
  • Name of the n-gram model, not directly used.
  • options.n: Order of the model (1: unigram, 2: bigram, 3: trigram, ...). Default to 3.
  • options.minLength: Minimum length of the word considered in the generation of the model. Default to options.n. Must be larger than or equal to options.n, an error will be thrown otherwise.
  • options.unique: Avoid skewing the generation toward the most repeated words in the text corpus. Default to false.
  • options.compress: Reduce the size of the model file, making it slightly less accurate. Default to false.
  • options.excludeOriginal: Include the full list of the words considered in the generation so they can be blacklisted. Default to false.
  • options.filter: Character filtering option, either one the existing filters (see CLI) or a RegExp object. Default to 'extended'.


1.2.0 (2016-09-01) :

  • Allow and document how to generate n-gram models without the cli utility.

1.1.0 (2016-08-19) :

  • Add built-in filters (french, english, oldEnglish, chinese, japanese and noSymbols).
  • Allow a custom regular expression as filter for the cli utility.
  • Add a dictionary method to generate a comprehensive list of words.

1.0.0 (2016-08-12) :

  • First publication.


  • Fix issue where a model with exclude could lead to an infinite loop with a text corpus of poor quality
  • Make an online tool to generate the n-gram models