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A New Look at the Classical Entropy of Written English

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Abstract:

A simple method for finding the entropy and redundancy of a reasonable long sample of English text by direct computer processing and from first principles according to Shannon theory is presented. As an example, results on the entropy of the English language have been obtained based on a total of 20.3 million characters of written English, considering symbols from one to five hundred characters in length. Besides a more realistic value of the entropy of English, a new perspective on some classic entropy-related concepts is presented. This method can also be extended to other Latin languages. Some implications for practical applications such as plagiarism-detection software, and the minimum number of words that should be used in social Internet network messaging, are discussed.

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