Advances in computational historical linguistics - Speaker: Søren Wichmann

Advances in computational historical linguistics

Søren Wichmann

University of Leiden, Centre for Linguistics

Historical linguists have long wanted to know how to identy the origins, in time and space, of language families. Recent computational methods have contributed greatly to solving these two issues. Moreover, it is now also possible to get enough datapoints on the locations and dates of proto-languages that we can begin to put together statistics on the tempo and nature of the spread of the world’s languages throughout the last 6000 years. In this presentation I will concentrate mostly on methodological advances, including the use of simulations to assess the performance of some of our methods in historical linguistics, but will also highlight some new generalizations about the linguistic conquest of the world.