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Syntactic information about a corpus of linguistic or pictorial data can be discovered by analyzing the statistics of the data. Given a corpus of text, one can measure the tendencies of pairs of words to occur in common contexts, and use these measurements to define clusters of words. Applied to basic English text, this procedure yields clusters which correspond very closely to the traditional parts of speech (nouns, verbs, articles, etc.). For FORTRAN text, the clusters obtained correspond to integers, operations, etc.; for English text regarded as a sequence of letters (or of phonemes) rather than words, the vowels and the consonants are obtained as clusters. Finally, applied to the gray shades in a digitized picture, the procedure yields slice levels which appear to be useful for figure extraction.
Date of Publication: Nov 1969