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Using the parameters of the Zipf–Mandelbrot law to measure diachronic lexical, syntactical and stylistic changes – a large-scale corpus analysis

  • Using the Google Ngram Corpora for six different languages (including two varieties of English), a large-scale time series analysis is conducted. It is demonstrated that diachronic changes of the parameters of the Zipf–Mandelbrot law (and the parameter of the Zipf law, all estimated by maximum likelihood) can be used to quantify and visualize important aspects of linguistic change (as represented in the Google Ngram Corpora). The analysis also reveals that there are important cross-linguistic differences. It is argued that the Zipf–Mandelbrot parameters can be used as a first indicator of diachronic linguistic change, but more thorough analyses should make use of the full spectrum of different lexical, syntactical and stylometric measures to fully understand the factors that actually drive those changes.

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Author:Alexander KoplenigGND
Parent Title (English):Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2015
Date of Publication (online):2015/10/08
Tag:Google Ngram Corpora; Zipf’s law; diachronic corpus linguistics; lexical richness; noun–pronoun ratio; power law; syntactic complexity; time series analysis; type token ratio; vocabulary size
Issue:Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory
Edition:Ahead of print (April 2015)
First Page:1
Last Page:34
Veröffentlicht in: 
Corpus linguistic and linguistic theory 2018 14(1) pp. 1-35. DOI 10.1515/cllt-2014-0049

siehe auch: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:mh39-73491
Dewey Decimal Classification:400 Sprache / 410 Linguistik
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:Ja
Licence (German):Es gilt das UrhG