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date: 25 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The observation of the unusually skewed distribution of word frequencies by Jean-Baptiste Estoup and George Kingsley Zipf sparked the interest of the young mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot, and was the first step toward his discovery of fractal geometry. This power-law distribution is mathematically related to Shannon entropy and information theory. The topology of the lexicon appears to resemble the small world networks of the Internet and the World Wide Web, which are likewise dynamically maintained by a community of users. There are also intriguingly similar indications about the structure and functioning of the brain.

Keywords: Estoup, Zipf’s law, Mandelbrot, Shannon, power laws, entropy, information theory, small world networks

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