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Rate of language evolution is affected by population size

Bromham, Lindell; Hua, Xia; Fitzpatrick, Thomas G.; Greenhill, Simon J.


The effect of population size on patterns and rates of language evolution is controversial. Do languages with larger speaker populations change faster due to a greater capacity for innovation, or do smaller populations change faster due to more efficient diffusion of innovations? Do smaller populations suffer greater loss of language elements through founder effects or drift, or do languages with more speakers lose features due to a process of simplification? Revealing the influence of...[Show more]

CollectionsANU Research Publications
Date published: 2015-02-17
Type: Journal article
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1419704112


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