You are here: Home Departments Former independent research groups Evolutionary processes in language and culture Subprojects Correlated evolution of language structure

Evolutionary processes in language and culture -

Correlated evolution of language structure

What constrains the variation of language? In this subproject we adopt modern computational methods to answer this question from a broad phylogenetic perspective.

Linguistic typology is currently struggling with the problem of making statistically valid statements about non-independent observations of typological variation. With only six or seven thousand languages in the world, many of them undocumented and all heavily skewed towards a few huge families, generalizations based on stratified samples will only ever be possible on a coarse scale. We use bioinformatic methods which model evolutionary processes to make statistically sensitive, probabilistic measurements of typological variation within a phylogenetic tree, enabling us to make statistical statements about typological stability, and to measure subtle typological interdependencies.

Last checked 2010-11-16 by Michael Dunn

Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213
E-mail:   


Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn