Zipf's word frequency law in natural language: a critical review and future directions.

  title={Zipf's word frequency law in natural language: a critical review and future directions.},
  author={Steven Thomas Piantadosi},
  journal={Psychonomic bulletin & review},
  volume={21 5},
The frequency distribution of words has been a key object of study in statistical linguistics for the past 70 years. This distribution approximately follows a simple mathematical form known as Zipf's law. This article first shows that human language has a highly complex, reliable structure in the frequency distribution over and above this classic law, although prior data visualization methods have obscured this fact. A number of empirical phenomena related to word frequencies are then reviewed… CONTINUE READING
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