What a wheeze

February 28, 2003

The Diary has learnt that words such as "wheee" appear less frequently on websites the more "e"s you add to the end of them - and the decline is more rapid than expected from existing language rules such as Zipf's Law. Dennis Chao, who is doing his PhD in computer science at the University of New Mexico, made the discovery with Patrik D'haeseleer of the Harvard Medical School. The pair conclude that "further research in unbounded phatic interjectives will give insight into the mechanisms behind Zipf's Law, the nature of the web and the patience of authors".


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