Zipf's law in phonograms and Weibull distribution in ideograms: Comparison of English with Japanese

Terutaka Nabeshima, Yukio Gunji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Frequency distribution of word usage in a word sequence generated by capping is estimated in terms of the number of "hits" in retrieval of web-pages, to evaluate structure of semantics proper not to a particular text but to a language. Especially we compare distribution of English sequences with Japanese ones and obtain that, for English and Japanese phonogram, frequency of word usage against rank follows power-law function with exponent 1 and, for Japanese ideogram, it follows stretched exponential (Weibull distribution) function. We also discuss that such a difference can result from difference of phonogram based- (English) and ideogram-based language (Japanese).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Feb
Externally publishedYes



  • Ideogram
  • Phonogram
  • Weibull distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biotechnology
  • Drug Discovery

Cite this