Languages evolve in punctuational bursts
Atkinson, Q.D., Meade, A., Venditti, C., Greenhill, S.J., & Pagel, M. (2008) Languages evolve in punctuational bursts. Science, 319, 588.
Linguists speculate that human languages often evolve in rapid or punctuational bursts, sometimes associated with their emergence from other languages, but this phenomenon has never been demonstrated. We used vocabulary data from three of the world's major language groups—Bantu, Indo-European, and Austronesian—to show that 10 to 33% of the overall vocabulary differences among these languages arose from rapid bursts of change associated with language-splitting events. Our findings identify a general tendency for increased rates of linguistic evolution in fledgling languages, perhaps arising from a linguistic founder effect or a desire to establish a distinct social identity.
Sorry, there are no files attached to this publication yet
- Languages evolve in punctuational bursts
- The Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database: From Bioinformatics to Lexomics
- How Accurate and Robust Are the Phylogenetic Estimates of Austronesian Language Relationships?
- Does horizontal transmission invalidate cultural phylogenies?
- Language Phylogenies Reveal Expansion Pulses and Pauses in Pacific Settlement
- Testing Population Dispersal Hypotheses: Pacific Settlement, Phylogenetic Trees, and Austronesian Languages
- The Pleasures and Perils of Darwinizing Culture (with phylogenies)
- Austronesian language phylogenies: myths and misconceptions about Bayesian computational methods
- Matrilocal residence is ancestral in Austronesian societies
- Language-tree divergence times support the Anatolian theory of Indo-European origin