Volume 83, Number 1, July 2008
Article Number 18002
Number of page(s) 6
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
Published online 13 June 2008
EPL, 83 (2008) 18002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/83/18002

What role does syntax play in a language network?

Haitao Liu and Fengguo Hu

Institute of Applied Linguistics, Communication University of China - CHN-100024 Beijing, China

received 17 April 2008; accepted in final form 19 May 2008; published July 2008
published online 13 June 2008

That almost all language networks are small-world and scale-free raises the question of whether syntax plays a role to measure the complexity of a language network. To answer this question, we built up two random language (dependency) networks based on a dependency syntactic network and investigated the complexity of these three language networks to see if the non-syntactic ones have network indicators similar to the syntactic one. The results show that all the three networks are small-world and scale-free. While syntax influences the indicators of a complex network, scale-free is only a necessary but not sufficient condition to judge whether a network is syntactic or non-syntactic. The network analysis focuses on the global organization of a language, it may not reflect the subtle syntactic differences of the sentence structure.

89.75.Hc - Networks and genealogical trees.
89.90.+n - Other topics in areas of applied and interdisciplinary physics.

© EPLA 2008