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The origins of Zipf's meaning-frequency law

Author
Ferrer-i-Cancho, R.; Vitevitch, M. S.
Type of activity
Journal article
Journal
Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Date of publication
2018-11
Volume
69
Number
11
First page
1369
Last page
1379
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.24057 Open in new window
Repository
http://hdl.handle.net/2117/121991 Open in new window
URL
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/asi.24057 Open in new window
Abstract
In his pioneering research, G.K. Zipf observed that more frequent words tend to have more meanings, and showed that the number of meanings of a word grows as the square root of its frequency. He derived this relationship from two assumptions: that words follow Zipf's law for word frequencies (a power law dependency between frequency and rank) and Zipf's law of meaning distribution (a power law dependency between number of meanings and rank). Here we show that a single assumption on the joint pro...
Citation
Ferrer-i-Cancho, R., Vitevitch, M. S. The origins of Zipf's meaning-frequency law. "Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology", Novembre 2018, vol. 69, núm. 11, p. 1369-1379
Keywords
Biased random walk, Joint probability, Power-law, Square roots, Word frequencies, Zipf's law
Group of research
LARCA - Laboratory of Relational Algorithmics, Complexity and Learnability

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