When iconicity stands in the way of abbreviation: No Zipfian effect for figurative signals

@article{Miton2019WhenIS,
  title={When iconicity stands in the way of abbreviation: No Zipfian effect for figurative signals},
  author={Helena Miton and Olivier Morin},
  journal={PLoS ONE},
  year={2019},
  volume={14}
}
Zipf’s law of abbreviation, relating more frequent signals to shorter signal lengths, applies to sounds in a variety of communication systems, both human and non-human. It also applies to writing systems: more frequent words tend to be encoded by less complex graphemes, even when grapheme complexity is decoupled from word length. This study documents an exception to this law of abbreviation. Observing European heraldic motifs, whose frequency of use was documented for the whole continent and… 

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