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Two Regimes in the Frequency of Words and the Origins of Complex Lexicons: Zipf's Law Revisited

  • Ramon Ferrer Cancho
  • Ricard V. Solé
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    Zipf's law states that the frequency of a word is a power function of its rank. The exponent of the power is usually accepted to be close to (-)1. Great deviations between the predicted and real number of different words of a text, disagreements between the predicted and real exponent of the probability density function and statistics on a big corpus, make evident that word frequency as a function of the rank follows two different exponents, \approx (-)1 for the first regime and \approx (-)2 for the second. The implications of the change in exponents for the metrics of texts and for the origins of complex lexicons are analyzed.

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    Paper provided by Santa Fe Institute in its series Working Papers with number 00-12-068.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:00-12-068
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