World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Frequency list

Article Id: WHEBN0000787752
Reproduction Date:

Title: Frequency list  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Zipf's law, Most common words in English, Most common words in Esperanto, Self-organising heuristic
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Frequency list

In computational linguistics, a frequency list is a sorted list of words (word types) together with their frequency, where frequency here usually means the number of occurrences in a given corpus. A short example could be:

the 3789654
he 2098762
king 57897
boy 56975
outragious [sic] 76
stringyfy 5
transducionalify 1

It seems that Zipf's law holds for frequency lists drawn from longer texts of any natural language. Frequency lists are a useful tool when building an electronic dictionary, which is a prerequisite for a wide range of applications in computational linguistics.

German linguists define the Häufigkeitsklasse (frequency class) N of an item in the list using the base 2 logarithm of the ratio between its frequency and the frequency of the most frequent item. The most common item belongs to frequency class 0 (zero) and any item that is approximately half as frequent belongs in class 1. In the example list above, the misspelled word outragious has a ratio of 76/3789654 and belongs in class 16.

N=\left\lfloor0.5-\log_2\left(\frac{\text{Frequency of this item}}{\text{Frequency of most common item}}\right)\right\rfloor

where \lfloor\ldots\rfloor is the floor function.

Frequency lists, together with semantic networks, are used to identify the least common, specialized terms to be replaced by their hypernyms in a process of semantic compression.


  • Helmut Meier: Deutsche Sprachstatistik. Hildesheim: Olms 1967. (frequency list of German words)

See also

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.