Correlating complexity: A typological approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Proceeding from the assumption that all languages are equally complex, there exists a corollary, widely held but poorly documented, herein referred to as the negative correlation hypothesis. It states: If one component of language is simplified then another must be elaborated. Here, this assumption is reformulated in terms of a scientific hypothesis and subjected to statistical analysis. Thirty-two geographically diverse languages representing thirty language families and two isolates are tested for syllable count and inflectional synthesis on the verb as a means of rating their phonological and morphological complexity, respectively. The correlation between these measures is found to be slightly positive (r=0.0704), but statistically insignificant (p>0.05), indicating that the negative correlation hypothesis, if it is to be retained, still awaits scientific confirmation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-40
Number of pages40
JournalLinguistic Typology
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

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language
statistical analysis
rating
Language
Statistical Analysis
Verbs
Language Families
Rating
Proceedings
Corollary

Keywords

  • Complexity
  • Inflection
  • Inflectional synthesis
  • Morphology
  • Phonology
  • Syllable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Correlating complexity : A typological approach. / Shosted, Ryan K.

In: Linguistic Typology, Vol. 10, No. 1, 01.07.2006, p. 1-40.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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