The Value of Circular Definitions | Translation Studies, Corpus Linguistics, Academia |

“More than one reader has looked up a word in a dictionary, turned to a word used in the definition, only to be eventually pointed back to the original word in a loop of circular definitions. As annoying as this might sometimes be, such loops offer insights into the structure of a language and the expansion of its lexicon. David Levary, of Harvard University, and colleagues report in Physical Review X their use of methods from graph theory and statistical physics to study networks of words in dictionaries and show that creation of these loops is a fundamental mechanism in the growth of a language.”