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Re: VMs: Word Length Distribution
At 18:07 12/04/2004 -0500, Knox wrote:
Maybe this has been exhausted on the list in the past but I will bring it
up again anyway. What could account for the binomial distribution of
vocabulary words as shown by Jorge Stolfi?
Could (the) elimination of certain (sometimes) unessential parts of speech
or letters explain it? (Shorthand, Nick?)
As mentioned before, I strongly suspect that both (word-end) truncation and
(word-middle) abbreviation are mechanisms involved in the VMs' "plaintext",
which might serve to explain much of the "binomial-like" distribution
observed. Essentially, the explanation for the distribution would be that
words (somehow) get reduced to (roughly speaking) the shortest string which
uniquely identifies them (or, rather, the string that takes the least
amount of effort to write) - ie, short[ened]-hand - and that this involved
building up (probably unconsciously) some kind of tree-like choice structure.
However, this is still only part of the story: one thing I've meant to do
(but never got around to) is to test whether verbose ciphers reduce or
enhance this binomial-like distribution effect. Could I suggest you try
this out? IMO, the most likely verbose cipher groups are:-
ii, iii, iiii
qo, dy, or, ol, al
Oh, and don't forget to convert EVA to a more obviously glyph-based
ch, sh, cfh, ckh, cph, cth
Pidgin? Maybe there was a European Pidgin that became obsolete.
Lingua Franca is probably the most famous European pidgin - for example,
"Ferengi" is a Lingua Franca loan word, still in use several centuries
hence, apparently :-) - though assiduous trawling of the mailing list
archive should reveal 8 to 10 others, pulled in from the footnotes and
marginalia of European history.
AIUI, there are actually quite a few (though admittedly typically short)
Lingua Franca documents out there, many dating from the early Middle Ages.
Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....
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