This seems to be an interesting study with a pretty uninteresting conclusion, but as sesquipedalians we are happy to circumbilivaginate to achieve a honorificabilitudinitatibus – Deskarati
The idea that the length of a word is a reflection of the frequency with which it is used in order to make language more efficient is a theory that has held sway for decades. With “the”, “of” and “and” the three most commonly used words in the American English vocabulary according to the Brown Corpus the theory seems to make sense. And just consider how long it would take to get out a sentence if “the” were as long as the name of an Icelandic volcano. Now a team of MIT cognitive scientists has used Google data to develop an alternative theory that a word’s length actually reflects the amount of information it contains.
Although the notion that higher frequency of use engenders shorter words has an intuitive appeal to it, Steven Piantadosi, a PhD candidate in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), says such a theory doesn’t take into account the dependencies between words.
That is, many words, such as the three commonly used words listed above, typically appear in predictable sequences along with other words. The researchers found that short words are not necessarily highly frequent, but because they don’t contain much information by themselves, appear with strings of other familiar words that, together, convey information.
Although it does it in a different way, the researchers say this creates an efficiency of its own with the clustering of short words helping to “smooth out” the flow of information in language by forming strings of similar-sized language packets. Also, whether delivered through clusters of shorter words or through individual longer words carrying greater information, language tends to convey information at consistent rates.
Read more here (or not!) What’s in a word? Researchers say it depends how long it is.