Mathematical approaches to comparative linguistics

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The inference of the evolutionary history of a set of languages is a complex problem. Although some languages are known to be related through descent from common ancestral languages, for other languages determining whether such a relationship holds is itself a difficult problem. In this paper we report on new methods, developed by linguists Johanna Nichols (University of California, Berkeley), Donald Ringe and Ann Taylor (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia), and me, for answering some of the most difficult questions in this domain. These methods and the results of the analyses based on these methods were presented in November 1995 at the Symposium on the Frontiers of Science held by the National Academy of Sciences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6585-6590
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jun 24 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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