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Zipf and Type-Token rules for the English and Irish languages

By Le Quan Ha and Francis J Smith


The Zipf curve of log of frequency against log of rank for a large English corpus of 500 million word tokens and 689,000 word types is shown to have the usual slope close to –1 for rank less than 5,000, but then for a higher rank it turns to give a slope close to –2. This is apparently mainly due to foreign words and place names. The Zipf curve for a highly-inflected language (the Indo-European Celtic language, Irish) is also given. Because of the larger number of word types per lemma, it remains flatter than the English curve maintaining a slope of –1 until a turning point of about rank 30,000. A formula which calculates the number of tokens given the number of types is derived in terms of the rank at the turning point, 5,000 for English and 30,000 for Irish

Year: 2004
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