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Is it possible to quantify human language?

  1. Aug 14, 2010 #1
    While listening on my english lecture, my teacher told us that authors usually have similar word choices and sentences structures on their writings.

    Because of that, I began to wonder if it is possible (if it hasn't been done already) to quantify the human language (if that's the right term for it). The reason I ask is maybe it is possible to compare two or more pieces of writing quantitatively through a computer and see if it is from the same author based from its (unique) word and sentence structures?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 14, 2010 #2

    mathman

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    This kind of analysis has been going on for a long time. The use of computers speeds up the process, but the concept long predates their use. One important example is breaking down the five books of Moses (19th century) into four major sources.
     
  4. Aug 14, 2010 #3

    loseyourname

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    What you're talking about is called "stylometry." I don't vouch for it because I haven't used it, but if you have the inclination, you can goof around with a freeware program called Signature that employs these techniques to determine authorship. It comes packaged with a copy of the Federalist Papers to help you learn how to use it. This paper gives a general overview of the history and status of authorship attribution.
     
  5. Aug 15, 2010 #4

    CRGreathouse

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