Entropy of other languages
travis+ml-cryptography at subspacefield.org
Mon Feb 5 22:08:07 EST 2007
On Sun, Feb 04, 2007 at 03:46:41PM -0800, Allen wrote:
> An idle question. English has a relatively low entropy as a
> language. Don't recall the exact figure, but if you look at words
> that start with "q" it is very low indeed.
I seem to recall Shannon did some experiments which showed that with a
human as your probability oracle, it's roughly 1-2 bits per letter.
Many of his papers are online last time I looked, but some of his
experimental results are harder to locate online.
> What about other languages? Does anyone know the relative entropy
> of other alphabetic languages? What about the entropy of
> ideographic languages? Pictographic? Hieroglyphic?
IIRC, it turned out that Egyptian heiroglyphs were actually syllabic,
like Mesopotamian, so no fun there. Mayan, on the other hand, remains
an enigma. I read not long ago that they also had a way of recording
stories on bundles of knotted string, like the end of a mop.
The driving force behind innovation is sublimation.
For a good time on my UBE blacklist, email john at subspacefield.org.
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