Your place or mine? A phylogenetic comparative analysis of marital residence in Indo-European and Austronesian societies

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London Vol/Iss. 365(1559) The Royal Society Published In Pages: 3913–3922
By Fortunato, Laura, Jordan, Fiona M.


Aiming to better understand human demographic and dispersal history, the study uses Bayesian phylogenetic comparative methods to trace post-marital residence and cultural changes among 27 Indo-European and 135 Austronesian languages. They suggest that changes from uxorilocality to other types of residences (neolocality and virolocality) are more common than the inverse transitions. The results are generally supported with one exception: Austronesian societies have a higher rate of transition from neolocality to uxorilocality (1.5) than the other way around (0.9). Other relevant findings are that proto-Indo-European societies tend to follow virilocality, while proto-Malayo-Polynesian uxorilocality. There is a commonality for both language families to present instability of uxorilocality and unusual loss of uxorilocality.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
Ethnographic ReportsCombinationData from Austronesian societies (Jordan et al., 2009).
Ethnographic Atlas (EA)CombinationA selection of Indo-European located in Eurasia prior to 1492.
Ethnographic EncyclopaediasCombinationData from Austronesian societies (LeBar, 1975; Levinson, 1990).

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