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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter concentrates on word length, emphasizing relevant quantitative and synergetic approaches. Alternative units for measuring word length are discussed with regard to their usability, as well as the influence that different kinds of material may have on studying word length. In addition to presenting some basic descriptive statistical characteristics, this contribution shows that word length is a substantial and central phenomenon for a comprehensive theory of language. It is shown, first, that the way in which words of a given length occur in linguistic material is not chaotic, but follows clearly defined, law-like regularities; and second, that word length is not an isolated category within the linguistic system, but is closely interrelated to other properties of the word, as well as of other linguistic units, levels, and structures. Theoretical models are discussed, concerning not only these interrelations, but sequential text analysis and frequency distributions.

Keywords: word length, quantitative linguistics, synergetic linguistics, descriptive statistics, linguistic units, linguistic levels, linguistic structures, sequential text analysis, frequency distribution, theory of language

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