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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/144

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

nine-letter words, which did not exceed 26 in any thousand of one, rose to 73 in the other. A similar contrast prevailed in the relative frequencies of four-, seven-, eight-and ten-letter words in the two sets of data. In this case then, at least, five thousand words seemed

PSM V65 D144 Word curves of composition same author.png
Fig. 6. Five 1,000 Word-curves from Goethe's 'Dee B├╝rgergeneral.' (See Table I.) Fig. 7. Five 1,000 Word-curves from Goethe's' Literatur: Recensionen.' (See Table I.)

sufficient to indicate the limits of the invariable curves which a larger number of words would yield, and these limits are actually exclusive except in the proximity of the intersection of the two sets of curves. The normal curve for each group of five thousand words is given in Fig. 8.

Goethe may possibly be exceptional in manifesting such striking uniformity in the curves for successive thousands of the same work, PSM V65 D144 Word curves of composition by theme.pngFig. 8. Two 5,000 Word-curves from Goethe. (Table I.) (A) Prose Drama ('Der B├╝rgergeneral'), (B) Criticism ('Literatur: Recensionen'). and an equally striking divergence in any two curves belonging to different works. So I turned to Schiller. Ten thousand words were examined, five thousand from his 'Kabale und Liebe,' a prose drama, and five thousand from Ms 'History of the Thirty Years' War.'

A glance at the corresponding word-curves for each thousand words (Figs. 9 and 10) shows that here, too, five thousand words will determine the limits within which the unknown invariable word-curves will be confined with a sufficient definiteness to convince us that the curves can in no wise resemble each other. Four-letter words occur only about half as frequently in the 'History' as in the 'Play'; ten-, eleven-, twelve-letter and longer words are increased two and three-fold.