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The Distribution of Variable-length Phatic Interjectives on the World Wide Web
Dennis Chao and Patrik D'haeseleer
If one uses a commercial internet search engine to search for increasingly long versions of variable-length interjectives on the web (e.g. "whee", "wheee", "wheeee", etc), the number of pages found containing these longer words falls off as a power law. The exponents for the length frequency distributions of different interjectives are not the same, although they may cluster around a few exponents. Surprisingly, the exponents are much larger than the -1 predicted by Zipf's Law. We believe that the restricted domain of variable-length phatic interjectives is an interesting subset of English that can provide an alternative simple model system of word length distributions.