Evolutionary dynamics of language systems

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Vol/Iss. 114(42) National Academy of Sciences Published In Pages: E8822-E8829
By Greenhill, Simon J. , Wu, Chieh-Hsi, Hua, Xia, Gray, Russell D.


Grammatical features of language tend to change at a slower rate than basic vocabulary.


"On average, the grammatical features changed faster (n = 157, median rate = 7.93e-05, SD = 5.74e-05 changes per feature per year) than the basic vocabulary cognates (n = 1195, median rate = 1.48e-05, SD = 4.00e-05)."


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Dirichlet process mixture modelNot SupportedUNKNOWNUNKNOWNUNKNOWN


Variable NameVariable Type OCM Term(s)
Rate of change - grammatical featuresDependentGrammar
Rate of change - basic vocabularyDependentVocabulary