Distinguishing contact-induced change from language drift in genetically related languages

Mark Ellison, Luisa Miceli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paper

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Abstract

Languages evolve, undergoing repeated small changes, some with permanent effect and some not. Changes affecting a language may be independent or contact-induced. Independent changes arise internally or, if externally, from non-linguistic causes. En masse, such changes cause isolated languages to drift apart in lexical form and grammatical structure. Contact-induced changes can happen when languages share speakers, or when their speakers are in contact. Frequently, languages in contact are related, having a common ancestor from which they still retain visible structure. This relatedness makes it difficult to distinguish contact-induced change from inherited similarities. In this paper, we present a simulation of contact-induced change. We show that it is possible to distinguish contact-induced change from independent change given (a) enough data, and (b) that the contact- induced change is strong enough. For a par- ticular model, we determine how much data is enough to distinguish these two cases at p < 0.05.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the EACL 2012 Workshop on Computational Models of Language Acquisition and Loss 2012
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Pages1-9
Number of pages9
Volume13
ISBN (Electronic)9781937284190
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventEACL 2012 Workshop on Computational Models of Language Acquisition and Loss - Avignon, France
Duration: 24 Apr 201224 Apr 2012

Conference

ConferenceEACL 2012 Workshop on Computational Models of Language Acquisition and Loss
CountryFrance
CityAvignon
Period24/04/1224/04/12

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  • Cite this

    Ellison, M., & Miceli, L. (2012). Distinguishing contact-induced change from language drift in genetically related languages. In Proceedings of the EACL 2012 Workshop on Computational Models of Language Acquisition and Loss 2012 (Vol. 13, pp. 1-9). Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL).