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Open AccessArticle

Linguistic Laws in Speech: The Case of Catalan and Spanish

1
Societat Catalana de Tecnologia, Secció de Ciències i Tecnologia, Institut d’Estudis Catalans, Carrer del Carme 47, 08001 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
2
Complexity and Quantitative Linguistics Lab, LARCA Research Group, Institut de Ciències de l’Educació, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Av. Doctor Marañón 44-50, 08028 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
3
Departamento de Matemática Aplicada y Estadistíca, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Plaza Cardenal Cisneros, 28040 Madrid, Spain
4
Laboratorio de Fonética Antonio Quilis, Facultad de Filología, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, 28040 Madrid, Spain
5
School of Mathematical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Entropy 2019, 21(12), 1153; https://doi.org/10.3390/e21121153
Received: 31 October 2019 / Revised: 18 November 2019 / Accepted: 21 November 2019 / Published: 26 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information Theory and Language)
In this work we consider Glissando Corpus—an oral corpus of Catalan and Spanish—and empirically analyze the presence of the four classical linguistic laws (Zipf’s law, Herdan’s law, Brevity law, and Menzerath–Altmann’s law) in oral communication, and further complement this with the analysis of two recently formulated laws: lognormality law and size-rank law. By aligning the acoustic signal of speech production with the speech transcriptions, we are able to measure and compare the agreement of each of these laws when measured in both physical and symbolic units. Our results show that these six laws are recovered in both languages but considerably more emphatically so when these are examined in physical units, hence reinforcing the so-called ‘physical hypothesis’ according to which linguistic laws might indeed have a physical origin and the patterns recovered in written texts would, therefore, be just a byproduct of the regularities already present in the acoustic signals of oral communication. View Full-Text
Keywords: Zipf’s law; Brevity law; Menzerath–Altmann’s law; Herdan’s law; lognormal distribution; size-rank law; quantitative linguistics; Glissando corpus; scaling; speech Zipf’s law; Brevity law; Menzerath–Altmann’s law; Herdan’s law; lognormal distribution; size-rank law; quantitative linguistics; Glissando corpus; scaling; speech
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Hernández-Fernández, A.; G. Torre, I.; Garrido, J.-M.; Lacasa, L. Linguistic Laws in Speech: The Case of Catalan and Spanish. Entropy 2019, 21, 1153.

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