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Biosystems. 1989;22(4):301-4.

A word of a natural language has 2.718 different meanings or slightly more.

Author information

1
Technological University of Nagaoka, Japan.

Abstract

The capacity of lexical decision-making in the brain conforms to the indefiniteness latent in natural languages. The average number of different meanings per word of a natural language is measured to be 2.805 +/- 0.005 irrespective of whether the language is Chinese, English or Japanese. If one can almost perfectly comprehend words and sentences written in a natural language in a context-dependent manner, the average number of different meanings per word would reduce to e (= 2.718281828459...), the base of natural or Napierian logarithms.

PMID:
2804267
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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