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Let us have a set of languages $L = \{l_{i=1}, \cdots, l_N\}$. Let us have a set of words $W = \{w_{j=1}, \cdots, w_M\}$ such that each word $w_j$ belongs to a language $l_i$. Let $n_i$ denote how many words each language $l_i$ has.

Let $W$ and $L$ be Discrete Random Variables so we can calculate the Posterior Probability $P(L|W)$ by using Bayes`s Theorem:

$P(L|W) = \frac{P(W|L)P(L)}{P(W)}$,

where P(W|L) is the Likelihood of $W$ given $L$, $P(L)$ is the Prior Probability of $L$, and $P(W)$ is the Marginal Probability of $W$.

How do I calculate $P(W|L)$ and $P(W)$?

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The likelihood $P(W|L)$ typically comes from what sort of model/relationship you are assuming between the variables in your data. For example in simple linear regression we have $$ p(\beta | \mathbf{y}) \propto p(\mathbf{y} | \beta)p(\beta) $$ where $p(\mathbf{y}|\beta)$ is assumed to be be $N(\mathbf{X}\beta, \sigma^2)$.

The marginal likelihood $P(W)$ is often difficult or even intractable to calculate. In some simple models it can be calculated. Many inferential procedures however do not require you to be able to calculate this value.

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  • $\begingroup$ ok, let's ignore P(W)... I still don't understand P(W|L).. The model/relationship I assumed was that each word belongs to a language, but I still don't get it. $\endgroup$ May 23 '17 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know anything about your problem, nor have you given me enough information to provide you with any reasonable information about the likelihood. $\endgroup$
    – bdeonovic
    May 24 '17 at 1:40

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