# Word: distribution

Category:

##### Description/Reason:

As in statistics/probability calculus

Comment below with feedback and suggestions.

#### Responses

1. This is an exact scientific concept. No zigzag work you provide can accurately describe this concept (unless, of course, an existing word is canonically defined to mean this concept). In scientific discussion I will rather use a loan word than any of these zigzag words.

1. If you think my suggestion is inaccurate, perhaps you can explain *why* it is inaccurate instead of labeling it a "zigzag" word. You might win me over to your point of view if you argue effectively.

1. As a word suggestion it's fine. One point of criticism I have is that a probability distribution doesn't need any data, the distribution (and its shape) exist separately from any data sampled from the distribution, but that is only a small issue.

The real reason why it's inaccurate is that it's not canonical. "Distribution" is a word that has an exact mathematical definition. I want a word that I can say that brings this definition to the listener's mind. I'm not talking about any general shape of the data, I'm talking about _the_ distribution of the data. If I use a phrase like {De' tu'qom}, I must explain to the listener that I'm actually talking about the mathematical distributions. As we don't have statistics vocabulary, the explaining will be difficult too. (There's another word suggestion for "be correlated": I recommend anyone wanting to be able to speak about statistics to go upvote that, as that is one of the most fundamental concepts in statistics and we lack a word for it.)

Instead of explaining using zigzag words what a distribution means, I can just use the English word "distribution" and the listener immediately understands. I want to avoid that, hence this suggestion. Distribution is a basic and common concept in statistics, and we already have a lot of science vocabulary, so I don't think this would be out of place.

1. I'm glad that you mentioned Klingon's rich scientific vocabulary. I agree that it's a credit to how smart Klingon speakers are, and I agree that we need more of it. But if we take a look at what we currently have, we find a lot of composite concepts: ideas composed of combinations of existing words.

{baS SIrgh} "wire"
{chuq'a' leghwI'} "space telescope"
{gho SubmaH / ghomaH} "pi"
{HoS} "(wave) amplitude" [lit. "strength"]
{Ho' rutlh} "cog / sprocket / gear"
{Hutvav rarwI'} "neural synapse"
{jey' Sorpuq} "bronze"
{lay leng} "aeronautics"
{mIvwa'mey} "tally, (total) score, census, headcount" [lit. "scars"]
{mI' mob/Ha'} "odd/even number" [lit. "un/alone number"]
{mI' poj} "statistics" [lit. "number analysis"]
{muD 'umber} "climate"
{ngutlh tu'qom} "font, typeface" [lit. "written character appearance"]
{qoq De'wI' Dojmey} "botnet"
{QIch wab} "phoneme"
{tuj 'otlh} "infrared radiation" [lit. "heat photon"]
{velSo' 'uSqan} "stainless steel"
{wab naQ} "vowel"
{wab poD} "consonant"
{wanI' SubmaH} "frequency" [lit. "occurrence ratio"]
{yab qoD} "subconscious mind"
{'otlh poH} "Planck time"
{'ul gho} "circuit"

So it's not as though the desire to compose "zigzag words" as you call them comes from nowhere. They are evidently a robust tradition in Klingon.

I always try to ask myself a series of questions when I evaluate a word on this list:
1) Does this word belong to a larger category?
2) Do we have a word for that broader category of things this word belongs to?
3) If we have a word for that category, can we put together a noun phrase that expresses that idea?

So, what is a "distribution" in mathematical terms? You're correct that distributions exist separately from any dataset, because distributions are *functions* mathematically speaking. You're also correct that the notion of correlation, i.e. of mapping the association of two or more variables, is crucial to distributions in particular and functions in general. I'll respond to your objections to {nel} for this concept in that specific comment section.

So what we really need here is a word for a mathematical "function". In my opinion that would solve the problem posed by this request, plus a number of other potential future problems involving mathematical functions. We already have a word for "statistics" {mI' poj}, and {mIvwa'mey} is quite appropriate for describing statistical data. A composite noun phrase with "function" looks very appealing.

I do concede that {tu'qom} might be more suitable for the way that a distribution is *visualized*, e.g. pie chart, bar graph etc.