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Automated Dating of the World's Language Families Based on Lexical Similarity

Holman, Eric W.; Brown, Cecil H.; Wichmann, Soren; Muller, Andre; Velupillai, Viveka; Hammarstrom, Harald; Sauppe, Sebastian; Jung, Hagen; Bakker, Dik; Brown, Pamela; Belyaev, Oleg; Urban, Matthias; Mailhammer, Robert; List, Johann-Mattis; Egorov, Dmitry

Description

This paper describes a computerized alternative to glottochronology for estimating elapsed time since parent languages diverged into daughter languages. The method, developed by the Automated Similarity Judgment Program (ASJP) consortium, is different from glottochronology in four major respects: (1) it is automated and thus is more objective, (2) it applies a uniform analytical approach to a single database of worldwide languages, (3) it is based on lexical similarity as determined from...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorHolman, Eric W.
dc.contributor.authorBrown, Cecil H.
dc.contributor.authorWichmann, Soren
dc.contributor.authorMuller, Andre
dc.contributor.authorVelupillai, Viveka
dc.contributor.authorHammarstrom, Harald
dc.contributor.authorSauppe, Sebastian
dc.contributor.authorJung, Hagen
dc.contributor.authorBakker, Dik
dc.contributor.authorBrown, Pamela
dc.contributor.authorBelyaev, Oleg
dc.contributor.authorUrban, Matthias
dc.contributor.authorMailhammer, Robert
dc.contributor.authorList, Johann-Mattis
dc.contributor.authorEgorov, Dmitry
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-08T22:14:41Z
dc.identifier.issn0011-3204
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/30374
dc.description.abstractThis paper describes a computerized alternative to glottochronology for estimating elapsed time since parent languages diverged into daughter languages. The method, developed by the Automated Similarity Judgment Program (ASJP) consortium, is different from glottochronology in four major respects: (1) it is automated and thus is more objective, (2) it applies a uniform analytical approach to a single database of worldwide languages, (3) it is based on lexical similarity as determined from Levenshtein (edit) distances rather than on cognate percentages, and (4) it provides a formula for date calculation that mathematically recognizes the lexical heterogeneity of individual languages, including parent languages just before their breakup into daughter languages. Automated judgments of lexical similarity for groups of related languages are calibrated with historical, epigraphic, and archaeological divergence dates for 52 language groups. The discrepancies between estimated and calibration dates are found to be on average 29% as large as the estimated dates themselves, a figure that does not differ significantly among language families. As a resource for further research that may require dates of known level of accuracy, we offer a list of ASJP time depths for nearly all the world's recognized language families and for many subfamilies.
dc.publisherUniversity of Chicago Press
dc.sourceCurrent Anthropology
dc.titleAutomated Dating of the World's Language Families Based on Lexical Similarity
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume52
dc.date.issued2011
local.identifier.absfor200402 - Computational Linguistics
local.identifier.ariespublicationu4632067xPUB73
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationHolman, Eric W., University of California Los Angeles
local.contributor.affiliationBrown, Cecil H., University of West Florida
local.contributor.affiliationWichmann, Soren, Leiden University
local.contributor.affiliationMuller, Andre, University of Leipzig
local.contributor.affiliationVelupillai, Viveka, Justus-Liebig-Universitat Giessen
local.contributor.affiliationHammarstrom, Harald, Radboud Universiteit
local.contributor.affiliationSauppe, Sebastian, Max Planck Institute
local.contributor.affiliationJung, Hagen, Max Planck Institute
local.contributor.affiliationBakker, Dik, Lancaster University
local.contributor.affiliationBrown, Pamela, Independent
local.contributor.affiliationBelyaev, Oleg, Russian Academy of Sciences
local.contributor.affiliationUrban, Matthias, Max Planck Institute
local.contributor.affiliationMailhammer, Robert, College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationList, Johann-Mattis, Heinrich Heine University
local.contributor.affiliationEgorov, Dmitry, Kazan Federal University
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue6
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage841
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage875
local.identifier.doi10.1086/662127
dc.date.updated2015-12-08T07:53:15Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-82955168011
local.identifier.thomsonID000298033500003
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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