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International Journal of Theoretical Linguistics

Ed. by Roelcke, Thorsten / Kelih, Emmerich / Köhler, Reinhard

Editorial Board: Altmann, Gabriel / Andreev, Sergey / Bär, Jochen A. / Embleton, Sheila / Gries, Stefan Th. / Grzybek, Peter / Leiss, Elisabeth / Liu, Haitao / Macutek, Ján / Bruch Nemcová, Emilia / Patrás, Vladimír / Sanada, Haruko / Wilson, Andrew

CiteScore 2017: 0.21

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.126
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.429

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Letter, Grapheme and (Allo-)Phone Frequencies: The Case of Slovak

Peter Grzybek / Milan Rusko
  • Milan Rusko, Department of Speech Analysis and Synthesis. Institute of Informatics of the Slovak Academy of Sciences
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Published Online: 2014-07-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/glot-2009-0004


This study is an extension of previous research on so-called “low-level” linguistic units in general, and on Slovak letter and grapheme frequencies in particular. Specifically, the ranking behavior of Slovak letters and graphemes is compared to the organization of allophones, submitting identical linguistic data to analyses on all three levels. As a result, it can be shown that all three kinds of units share some common features as to their frequency organization; still, there seem to be substantial differences. As to common traits, it is shown that the frequency of Slovak letters, graphemes and allophones can be modeled by the negative hypergeometric distribution; furthermore, there is a linear relation between parameters K and M of this model, previously observed and interpreted in more detail for other Slavic languages. However, as opposed to previous results obtained, parameter K does not seem to depend on inventory size only; also, whereas there is no significant difference of (relative) entropy between LG frequencies, the difference is significant between both and allophones, (relative) entropy being less for A frequencies as compared to the LG frequencies. These findings can be interpreted in terms of a more uniform exploitation of allophones as compared to that of letters or graphemes, indicating a relative under-exploitation and/or overexploitation of LG units as compared to the allophone inventory. Perspectives for further research are outlined.

About the article

Published Online: 2014-07-15

Published in Print: 2009-07-01

Citation Information: Glottotheory, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 30–48, ISSN (Online) 2196-6907, ISSN (Print) 1337-7892, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/glot-2009-0004.

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