Mathematical modeling of grammatical diversity supports the historical reality of formal syntax

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Dokumentart: ConferencePaper
Date: 2016-03-07
Language: English
Faculty: 5 Philosophische Fakultät
Department: Allgemeine u. vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft
DDC Classifikation: 400 - Language and Linguistics
Keywords: Historische Sprachwissenschaft , Syntax , Grammatik , Phylogenetik
Other Keywords:
comparative linguistics
principles and parameters
Indo-European languages
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Recent studies have taken advantage of computational techniques to investigate the evolution of Indo-European languages [1-3]. However, these methods are not able to overcome the time constraints on lexical evolution, which limit a broader application of the Classical Comparative Method, and therefore cannot be used above the family level. For this reason, evidence from cross-family relationships must come from other domains (e.g. phonetics, [4, 5]). Reference [6] shows that another domain, syntax, is a potential source for cross-family comparison. In this paper, we evaluate the method proposed in [6], the PCM, and argue through a random generation of possible grammars that syntactic distances can be useful to detect signals of historical relatedness above the Indo-European level, within some confidence probabilistic intervals.

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