Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Nature. 2000 Jun 29;405(6790):1052-5.

Language trees support the express-train sequence of Austronesian expansion.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Auckland, New Zealand. rd.gray@auckland.ac.nz

Abstract

Languages, like molecules, document evolutionary history. Darwin observed that evolutionary change in languages greatly resembled the processes of biological evolution: inheritance from a common ancestor and convergent evolution operate in both. Despite many suggestions, few attempts have been made to apply the phylogenetic methods used in biology to linguistic data. Here we report a parsimony analysis of a large language data set. We use this analysis to test competing hypotheses--the "express-train" and the "entangled-bank" models--for the colonization of the Pacific by Austronesian-speaking peoples. The parsimony analysis of a matrix of 77 Austronesian languages with 5,185 lexical items produced a single most-parsimonious tree. The express-train model was converted into an ordered geographical character and mapped onto the language tree. We found that the topology of the language tree was highly compatible with the express-train model.

PMID:
10890445
DOI:
10.1038/35016575
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group
    Loading ...
    Support Center