Language structure is partly determined by social structure

PLoS ONE Vol/Iss. 5 Published In Pages: e8559
By Lupyan, Gary, Dale, Rick


This article explores the relationship between language structure and social environment, positing that linguistic factors such as morphological complexity are associated with demographic/socio-historical factors such as number of speakers, geographic spread, and degree of language contact. Data support such an association. The authors further propose a Linguistic Niche Hypothesis suggesting that “the level of morphological specialization is a product of languages adapting to the learning constraints and the unique communicative needs of the speaker population” (7).


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
OtherWorld Atlas of Language Structures, Ethnologue, Global Mapping Institute

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:Kate Cummings Amelia Piazza