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Natural Language Processing with Python .dispersion_plot returns nothing

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I'm in the first chapter of Natural Language Processing with Python and am trying to run the example .dispersion_plot. I am using Python 2.7.4 (Anaconda) on Mac OSX 10.8.

When I load all of the necessary modules and try to create the dispersion plott, I get no return - no plot, no error message, not even a new >>> prompt, just a blinking cursor under the last line I typed. Here is what I've been doing:

[~]: python
Python 2.7.4 |Anaconda 1.5.1 (x86_64)| (default, May 9 2013, 12:12:00) 
[GCC 4.0.1 (Apple Inc. build 5493)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

>>> import numpy
>>> import matplotlib
>>> import nltk
>>> from nltk.book import *
*** Introductory Examples for the NLTK Book ***
Loading text1, ..., text9 and sent1, ..., sent9
Type the name of the text or sentence to view it.
Type: 'texts()' or 'sents()' to list the materials.
text1: Moby Dick by Herman Melville 1851
text2: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen 1811
text3: The Book of Genesis
text4: Inaugural Address Corpus
text5: Chat Corpus
text6: Monty Python and the Holy Grail
text7: Wall Street Journal
text8: Personals Corpus
text9: The Man Who Was Thursday by G . K . Chesterton 1908
>>> text4.dispersion_plot(["citizens", "democracy", "freedom", "duties", "America"])

...and nothing. I can't paste it but my cursor is just blinking under my last command with no prompt. So far the other example commands from the chapter (e.g. .concordance) work fine, so I'm guessing the problem is something with numpy or matplotlib. I had a heck of a time getting matplotlib installed correctly (kept getting errors saying that it wasn't installed even when I had installed it), but since switching to the Anaconda distro, which had those prepackaged, I haven't gotten any module errors.

Any advice??

posted Jun 17, 2013 by anonymous

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2 Answers

+1 vote

The dispersion_plot() method uses pylab.show() to display the data (in another window). Only when you close that window the interactive interpreter becomes responsive again.

If you didn't overlook that window: do you run into the same problem with

>>> import pylab
>>> pylab.plot([1, 2, 3], [3, 1, 2])
[]
>>> pylab.show()

? If so, choose another backend. I've not tried, but it seems straight-forward,

answer Jun 17, 2013 by anonymous
0 votes

How long did you wait for results before interrupting the command?
How large is text4? It might just take a while to process.

answer Jun 17, 2013 by anonymous
I let it run for 5-10 minutes. It's doing this no matter which text I try to run the dispersion plot on
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print a
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