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We investigate how short and long-range word length correlations evolve in Chinese narrative texts. The results show that, for short-range word length correlations, no significant linear evolutionary trend was found. But for long-range correlations, there are two opposite tendencies for two different regimes: the Hurst exponent of small-scale (box size n ranges from 10 to 100) word length correlations decreases over time, and the exponent of large-scale (box size n ranges from 101 to 1000)<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/9362468">doi:10.1155/2018/9362468</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="https://fatcat.wiki/release/sxnqhbf7fncp3jrbuxt46dzlje">fatcat:sxnqhbf7fncp3jrbuxt46dzlje</a> </span>
more »... an increasing tendency. The increase of word length is corroborated as an essential regularity of word evolution in written Chinese. Further analyses show that a significant correlation coefficient is obtained between Hurst exponents from the small-scale correlations and mean word length across time. These indicate that word length correlation evolution possesses different self-adaptive mechanisms in terms of different scales of distances between words. We speculate that the increase of word length and sentence length in written Chinese may account for this phenomenon, in terms of both the social-cultural aspects and the self-adapting properties of language structures.
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