Mathematical Modelling for Japanese Kanji Strokes in Relation to Frequency, Asymmetry and Readings
lexical compositional asymmetry
The present study investigates the relationship between of Japanese kanji strokes and their printed-frequencies of occurrence, compositional asymmetry and kanji multiple readings. First, distributions of kanji strokes in both samples of the 1,945 basic kanji and of 6,355 kanji appearing in the Asashi Newspaper published between 1985 and 1998 followed a negative hypergeometric distribution as demonstrated by Figure 1. The distribution of strokes of the 1,945 kanji with their printed-frequencies is rather rhapsodic, as shown in Figure 2, but a rough-fitting model is drawn in Figure 3. Mathematical modelling for kanji strokes with lexical compositional asymmetry reveals the interesting tendency of regressive compounding; that is, that the greater the number of strokes in a kanji, the more it tends to produce two-kanji compound words by adding a kanji on the right side of the target kanji, as shown in Figure 4. A kanji may often have multiple readings; this study also examines the number of readings in relation to the number of kanji strokes. As shown in Figure 6, the greater the number of kanji strokes, the fewer the number of readings. In other words, the more visually complex the kanji is, the more specialised its reading becomes. As such, kanji strokes, as one of the central characteristics of kanji, are closely related to other properties such as frequency, asymmetry and readings. The present study uses mathematical modelling to indicate these relations.
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