Journal :: Linguistic Typology
Linking spatial patterns of language variation to ancient demography and population migrations
Linguistic Typology 15(2):321--332, 2011
I am most grateful to those who have contributed to this collection for their insightful comments on my proposal that global variation in phonemic diversity reflects the legacy of a serial founder effect following the human expansion from Africa (Atkinson 2011). The ...
Greenbergian universals, diachrony, and statistical analyses
Linguistic Typology 15(2):433--453, 2011
In their article Evolved structure of language shows lineage-specific trends in word order universals, Dunn, Greenhill, Levinson, & Gray present evidence purporting to demonstrate that both Chomskyan and Greenbergian language universals are invalid. In particular, ...
Complementing quantitative typology with behavioral approaches: Evidence for typological universals
Linguistic Typology 15(2):497--508, 2011
Two main classes of theory have been advanced to explain correlations between linguistic features like those observed by Greenberg (1963). ARBITRARY CONSTRAINT theories argue that certain sets of features patterm together because they have a single underlying ...
Universal typological dependencies should be detectable in the history of language families
Linguistic Typology 15(2):509--534, 2011
We claim that making sense of the typological diversity of languages demands a historical/evolutionary approach. We are pleased that the target paper (Dunn et al. 2011a) has served to bring discussion of this claim into prominence, and are grateful that leading ...
On the relation between structural diversity and geographical distance among languages: Observations and computer simulationsdoi.orgPDF
Linguistic Typology 11(2):395-423, 2007
Modern linguistic typology is increasingly less concerned with what is possible in human languages (universals) and increasingly more with the question ``what's where why?'' (Bickel 2007). Moreover, as several recent papers in this journal show, typologists increasingly turn to ...MORE ⇓
Modern linguistic typology is increasingly less concerned with what is possible in human languages (universals) and increasingly more with the question ``what's where why?'' (Bickel 2007). Moreover, as several recent papers in this journal show, typologists increasingly turn to quantitative approaches as a means to understanding typological distributions. In order to provide the quantitative study of typological distributions with a firm methodological foundation it is preferable to gain a grasp of simple facts before starting to ask the more complicated questions. In this article the only assumptions we make about languages are that (i) they may be partly described by a set of typological characteristics, each of which may either be found or not found in any given language; that (ii) languages may be genealogically related or not; and that (iii) languages are spoken in certain places. Given these minimal assumptions we can begin to ask how to express the differences and similarities among languages as functions of the geographical distances among them, whether different functions apply to genealogically related and unrelated languages, and whether it is possible to distinguish in some quantitative way between languages that are related and languages that are not, even when the languages in question are spoken at great distances from one another. Moreover, we may investigate the effects that factors such as ecology, migration, and rates of linguistic change or diffusion have on the degree of similarities among languages in cases where they are either related or unrelated. We will approach these questions from two perspectives. The first perspective is an empirical one, where observations primarily derive from analyses of the data of Haspelmath et al. (eds.) (2005). The second perspective is a computational one, where simulations are drawn upon to test the effects of different parameters on the development of structural linguistic diversity.