An experimental study comparing linguistic phylogenetic reconstruction methods

Francois Barbancon, Steven N. Evans, Luay Nakhleh, Don Ringe, Tandy Warnow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports a simulation study comparing and evaluating the performance of different linguistic phylogeny reconstruction methods on model datasets for which the true trees are known. UPGMA performed least well, then (in ascending order) neighbor joining, the method of Gray & Atkinson and finally maximum parsimony. Weighting characters greatly improves the accuracy of maximum parsimony and maximum compatibility if the characters with high weights exhibit low homoplasy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-170
Number of pages28
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Glottochronology
  • Indo-European
  • Lexicostatistics
  • Maximum compatibility
  • Maximum parsimony
  • Neighbor-joining
  • Phylogenetics
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Philosophy


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