Linguistic dark matter

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 17 20:35:39 UTC 2010

I missed this post when before I mailed my reply because of strange
clustering in Thunderbird. But this interpretation--if indeed
correct--makes the authors look even more ridiculous than mine. And if
indeed 10-2 is high frequency, then my statement should have said that
10-9 is the 10th percentile, not 90th. But confusing order of magnitude
with decile is simply inexplicable. Now my head hurts...


On 12/17/2010 2:56 PM, Baker, John wrote:
>          Perhaps I should have included the following passage, which
> explains how they calculated usage frequency.  Also, it should be
> understood that the number after a 10 (that is, the -9, -8, and so
> forth) is in superscript in the original, but my ASCII post converted
> this to normal text.  In the following passage, therefore, "10-5" is
> really 10 to the power of -5.  The authors apparently are using "decile"
> to mean "order of magnitude."  Since the powers of 10 are negative
> powers, a usage frequency of 10-8 would be for a low-frequency word and
> 10-2 would be for a high-frequency word.

The American Dialect Society -

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