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ERIC Number: EJ816564
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Oct
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
ISSN: ISSN-0364-0213
Zipf's Law and Avoidance of Excessive Synonymy
Manin, Dmitrii Y.
Cognitive Science, v32 n7 p1075-1098 Oct 2008
Zipf's law states that if words of language are ranked in the order of decreasing frequency in texts, the frequency of a word is inversely proportional to its rank. It is very reliably observed in the data, but to date it escaped satisfactory theoretical explanation. This article suggests that Zipf's law may result from a hierarchical organization of word meanings over the semantic space, which in turn is generated by the evolution of word semantics dominated by expansion of meanings and competition of synonyms. A study of the frequency of partial synonyms in Russian provides experimental evidence for the hypothesis that word frequency is determined by semantics. (Contains 6 figures, 2 tables, and 14 notes.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A