How to use typological databases in historical linguistic research
Abstract:Several databases have been compiled with the aim of documenting the distribution of typological features across the world’s languages. This paper looks at ways of utilizing this type of data for making inferences concerning genealogical relationships by using phylogenetic algorithms originally developed for biologists. The focus is on methodology, including how to assess the stability of individual typological features and the suitability of different phylogenetic algorithms, as well as ways to enhance phylogenetic signals and heuristic procedures for identifying genealogical relationships. The various issues are illustrated by a small sample of empirical data from a set of Native American languages.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: December 1, 2007
More about this publication?
- International Journal for Historical Linguistics