Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Formula to detect an author’s literary ‘fingerprint’

Date:
December 10, 2009
Source:
Institute of Physics
Summary:
Using literature written by Thomas Hardy, DH Lawrence and Herman Melville, physicists in Sweden have developed a formula to detect different authors’ literary ‘fingerprints’.

Using literature written by Thomas Hardy, DH Lawrence and Herman Melville, physicists in Sweden have developed a formula to detect different authors' literary 'fingerprints'.

New research published on December 10, in New Journal of Physics, describes a new concept from a group of Swedish physicists from the Department of Physics at Umeε University called the meta book which uses the frequency with which authors use new words in their literature to find distinct patterns in authors' written styles.

For more than 75 years George Kingsley Zipf's maxim, based on a carefully selected compilation of American English called Brown Corpus, suggested a universal pattern for the frequency of new words used by authors. Zipf's law suggests that the frequency ranking of a word is inversely proportional to its occurrence.

New research suggests however that the truth behind word frequency is less universal than Zipf asserted and has more to do with the author's linguistic ability than any over-arching linguistic rule.

The researchers first found that the occurrence of new words in the texts by Hardy, Lawrence and Melville did begin to drop off in their texts as their book gets longer, despite new settings and plot-twists.

Their evidence also shows however that the rate of unique word drop-off varies for different authors and, most significantly, is consistent across the entire works of any one of the three authors they analysed.

The statistical analysis was applied to entire novels, sections from novels, complete works and amalgamations from different works by the same authors -- they all had a unique word-frequency 'fingerprint'.

By using the statistical patterns evident from their study, the researchers have pondered the idea of a meta-book -- a code for each author which could represent their entire work, completed or in the mental pipeline.

As the researchers write, "These findings lead us towards the meta book concept -- the writing of a text can be described by a process where the author pulls a piece of text out of a large mother book (the meta book) and puts it down on paper. This meta book is an imaginary infinite book which gives a representation of the word frequency characteristics of everything that a certain author could ever think of writing."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sebastian Bernhardsson et al. The meta book and size-dependent properties of written language. New Journal of Physics, 11 (2009) 123015

Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics. "Formula to detect an author’s literary ‘fingerprint’." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091209194437.htm>.
Institute of Physics. (2009, December 10). Formula to detect an author’s literary ‘fingerprint’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091209194437.htm
Institute of Physics. "Formula to detect an author’s literary ‘fingerprint’." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091209194437.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Japan's bullet train turns 50 Wednesday. Here's a look at how it's changed over half a century — and the changes it's inspired globally. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) — Police body cameras are gradually being rolled out across the US, with interest surging after the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A ceremony marking 50 years since Japan launched its Shinkansen bullet train was held on Wednesday in Tokyo. The latest model can travel from Tokyo to Osaka, a distance of 319 miles, in two hours and 25 minutes. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins