Originally the term Zipf's law meant the observation of Harvard linguist George Kingsley Zipf (SAMPA: [zIf]) that the frequency of use of the nth-most-frequently-used word in any natural language is approximately inversely proportional to n
Interestingly, some who study 'word frequency' may know or may not know about the existence of Zipf's Law. And BBC NEWS feature (18 December 2005) as shown below, does not mention about any such statistical worldview:
Novelist Agatha Christie used words that invoked a chemical response in readers and made her books "literally unputdownable", scientists have said.
A neurolinguistic study of more than 80 of her novels concluded that her phrases triggered a pleasure response.
"Christie's language patterns stimulate higher than usual activity in the brain," Dr Roland Kapferer said.
... The Agatha Project study was carried out by scientists from universities in London, Birmingham and Warwick for an ITV1 documentary.
It involved loading Christie's novels onto a computer and analysing her words, sentences and phrases.
It aimed to explain the enduring popularity of the work of the late author, who created detectives Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot and wrote novels such as Murder on the Orient Express.
...Christie was also found to have used a very limited vocabulary.
"It means that readers aren't distracted and so they concentrate more on the clues and the plots," said Dr Pernilla Danielsson of Birmingham University.
They also found that Christie frequently used dashes to create "a faster-paced, unreflective narrative".
Thanks to the blog by Brenda Schmidt, and her description which brought me to this news item: "If only I could figure out how to release"
~~~~See also: Studying Cooperation and Conflict between Authors with history flow Visualizations, by Fernanda B. Viégas, Martin Wattenberg and Kushal Dave;
MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA 02139 USA,
P.S. You are not sure about this subject of visualizing frequency of word?
Click here to see a visual: word popularity colorizer.