The variation of Zipf's law in human language

  title={The variation of Zipf's law in human language},
  author={Ramon Ferrer i Cancho},
  journal={European Physical Journal B},
  • R. F. Cancho
  • Published 20 April 2005
  • Computer Science
  • European Physical Journal B
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… 
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