# The variation of Zipf's law in human language

@article{Cancho2005TheVO, title={The variation of Zipf's law in human language}, author={Ramon Ferrer i Cancho}, journal={European Physical Journal B}, year={2005}, volume={44}, pages={249-257} }

Words in humans follow the so-called Zipf’s law. More precisely, the word frequency spectrum follows a power function, whose typical exponent is β≈2, but significant variations are found. We hypothesize that the full range of variation reflects our ability to balance the goal of communication, i.e. maximizing the information transfer and the cost of communication, imposed by the limitations of the human brain. We show that the higher the importance of satisfying the goal of communication, the…

## 88 Citations

Zipf's law from a communicative phase transition

- Computer Science
- 2005

It is supported that Zipf's law in a communication system may maximize the information transfer under constraints and be specially suitable for the speech of schizophrenics.

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- Computer ScienceGlottometrics
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The exponent of Zipf’s law is shown to be a key aspect for knowing about the number of stimuli handled by a communication system, and determining which of two systems is less vague or less expensive.

Reply to "Comment on 'A Scaling law beyond Zipf's law and its relation to Heaps' law'"

- Physics
- 2013

The dependence on text length of the statistical properties of word occurrences has long been considered a severe limitation on the usefulness of quantitative linguistics. We propose a simple scaling…

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- 2018

It is shown that a single assumption on the joint probability of a word and a meaning suffices to infer Zipf's meaning‐frequency law or relaxed versions, and can be justified as the outcome of a biased random walk in the process of mental exploration.

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- MathematicsJournal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment
- 2019

The appearance of an intermediate distribution of frequencies at some critical values of the parameter suggests that on a population of artificial agents the emergence of scaling partly arises as a self-organized process only from local interactions between agents.

Zipf’s laws of meaning in Catalan

- LinguisticsPloS one
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The first study of Zipfian laws relating the frequency of a word with its number of meanings in Catalan is presented, verified via the relationship among their exponents and that of the rank-frequency law.

Zipf's law revisited: Spoken dialog, linguistic units, parameters, and the principle of least effort.

- LinguisticsPsychonomic bulletin & review
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The ubiquitous inverse relationship between word frequency and word rank is commonly known as Zipf's law. The theoretical underpinning of this law states that the inverse relationship yields…

A Probabilistic Model of Systems Exhibiting Zipf ’ s Law Behavior

- Computer Science
- 2008

Zipf’s law is a psychological law about the distribution of word frequencies in a language. It states the number of words with a given frequency, f, is inversely proportional to that frequency. That…

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- PhysicsGlottometrics
- 2005

There is no single radically simple explanation covering the whole range of variation of the exponent of Zipf’s law in humans, so two similar generalizations of Simon's model are introduced that cover the same range of exponents as the standard Simon model.

Phase transitions in a decentralized graph-based approach to human language

- Computer SciencePhysical review. E
- 2021

The aim here is double: within a bipartite-graph approach to human vocabularies, to propose a decentralized language game model for the formation of Zipfian properties and to define a language game in which a population of artificial agents is involved in idealized linguistic interactions.

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