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  1. Population Size and the Rate of Language Evolution: A Test Across Indo-European, Austronesian, and Bantu LanguagesGreenhill, Simon J. - Frontiers in Psychology, 2018 - 1 Hypotheses

    How is the evolution of language shaped by speaker population size? Through comparative data analyses of 153 language pairs from the Austronesian, Indo-European, and Niger-Congo language families, the authors find that the influence of population size on language evolution is not the same in the three language families. Only in Indo-European languages did a smaller population size of language-speakers significantly predict more word loss.

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  2. No universals in the cultural evolution of kinship terminologyPassmore, Sam - Evolutionary Human Sciences, 2020 - 3 Hypotheses

    Using phylogenetic comparative methods, the study explores the evolution of kinship terminologies within 176 societies in Austronesian, Bantu, and Uto-Aztecan language families. The authors consider 18 theories in the anthropological record that suggests that change in kinship terminologies is predicted by some social structures: marriage, residence, and descent. Only 19 of the 29 statistical hypotheses are supported, while none of the theories are supported in all three language families. This statistical irregularity means that the results are lineage-specific, instead of showing a universal driver of change in kinship terminology types.

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  3. Your place or mine? A phylogenetic comparative analysis of marital residence in Indo-European and Austronesian societiesFortunato, Laura - Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London, 2010 - 2 Hypotheses

    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.

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  4. Human sound systems are shaped by post-Neolithic changes in bite configurationBlasi, D.E. - Science, 2019 - 3 Hypotheses

    Using ethnography, historical linguistics, paleoanthropology, and speech biomechanics, the present study examines the relationship between labiodentals and the post-Neolithic period with the introduction of agriculture and softer diets. The results offer support for the linguist, Charles Hockett's, hypothesis that the shift in bite configuration in the post-Neolithic period, as well as the persistence of overbite and overjet, facilitates and makes the articulation of labiodentals more prevalent. Using cross-cultural comparison, findings also reveal that societies that produce their food are more likely to evolve and keep labiodentals than those that are not food-producing. Contact with other societies is also a mode by which societies gain labiodentals. Lastly, the expansion of agricultural and food processing technology over time has been imperative to labiodental articulations.

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  5. A quantitative global test of the complexity trade-off hypothesis: the case of nominal and verbal grammatical markingShcherbakova, Olena - Linguistics Vanguard, 2023 - 1 Hypotheses

    The "equi-complexity hypothesis" suggests that there is an equal complexity across languages, meaning that there are constant trade-offs between different domains. Using phylogenetic modelling in a sample of 244 languages, this study follows a diachronic perspective to explore if there is an inversed coevolution within the grammatical coding of nominal and verbal domains. The results show that while there appears to be a coevolutionary relationship between some features of these two domains, there is no evidence to support the idea that all languages maintain an overall equilibrium of grammatical complexity. Rather, the correlation nominal and verbal domains vary between lineages. Austronesian languages do not show a coevolution between the domains. Sino-Tibetan languages seem to have a positive correlation while Indo-European languages appear to have a negative correlation, meaning that this inverse coevolution can be lineage specific.

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  6. Rise and fall of political complexity in island South-East Asia and the PacificCurrie, Thomas E. - Nature, 2010 - 6 Hypotheses

    Using phylogenetic modeling, the researchers test hypotheses for different sequences of political complexity among South-East Asian and Pacific Austronesian-speaking cultures. The research adds to an existing debate between sequential, incremental political evolution models and non-sequential models with larger increases in complexity. The results suggest support for a more sequential unilinear model.

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  7. Comparative phylogenetic analyses uncover the ancient roots of Indo-European folktalesDa Silva, Sara Graça - Royal Society open science, 2016 - 2 Hypotheses

    The authors compare language phylogenies and spatial distributions with folktale frequencies of Indo-European peoples in order to reconstruct their cultural transmission. A stronger association is found between folktale frequency and language phylogeny than has been proposed in earlier literature studies, indicating that vertical transmission is more influential on folktale distribution than horizontal transmission through spatial proximity. Finally, the frequencies of certain folktales appear to trace the ancestral divergences of Indo-European languages to a much deeper level than previously though, suggesting that folktales are representative of broader features of culture, rather than recent literary inventions.

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  8. Rise and fall of political complexity in island South-East Asia and the PacificCurrie, Thomas E. - Nature, 2010 - 6 Hypotheses

    A central issue in anthropology is the process through which political organization (sometimes referred to as cultural complexity) evolves: competing models typically argue for either incremental increases in complexity or larger, non-sequential increases in complexity. Here, the authors evaluate six different models of political evolution, utilizing a phylogenetic approach to analyze the evolution of 84 Austronesian-speaking societies.

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  9. The island biogeography of languagesGavin, Michael C. - Global Ecology and Biogeography, 2012 - 2 Hypotheses

    This paper examines the enormous variation in linguistic diversity among Pacific Islands by testing its relationship with various environmental variables put forth in several common theories of language richness. The researchers identify variables relating to land area and island isolation as accounting for about half of variation in linguistic diversity, suggesting that the other half is a result of complex social factors.

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  10. Identifying post-marital residence patterns in prehistory: A phylogenetic comparative analysis of dwelling sizeHrnčíř, Václav - PLOS ONE, 2020 - 5 Hypotheses

    This study examines the association between post-marital residence patterns and dwelling size in pre-industrial societies using comparative methods and a global sample of 86 societies. The results suggest that matrilocality is associated with larger dwellings (over 65 square meters) in agricultural societies, while patrilocality is associated with smaller dwellings. The study also finds that sedentism is the single best predictor of house size. The study concludes that post-marital residence and house size evolve in a correlated fashion, which can help make reliable inferences about the social organization of prehistoric societies from archaeological records.

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