Quantitative Approaches to Linguistic Diversity
Quantitative methods in linguistics, which the protean American structuralist linguist Morris Swadesh introduced in the 1950s, have become increasingly popular and have opened the world of languages to interdisciplinary approaches. The papers collected here are the work not only of descriptive and historical linguists, but also statisticians, physicists and computer scientists. They demonstrate the application of quantitative methods to the elucidation of linguistic prehistory on an unprecedented world-wide scale, providing cutting-edge insights into issues of the linguistic correlates of subsistence strategies, rates of birth and extinction of languages, lexical borrowability, the identification of language family homelands, the assessment of genealogical relationships, and the development of new phylogenetic methods appropriate for linguistic data.
Originally published in Diachronica 27:2 (2010).