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Kolipakam, V., Jordan, F. M., Dunn, M., Greenhill, S. J., Bouckaert, R., Gray, R. D. & Verkerk, A. (2018). A Bayesian phylogenetic study of the Dravidian language family. Royal Society Open Science, 5(3), Article ID 171504.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Bayesian phylogenetic study of the Dravidian language family
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2018 (English)In: Royal Society Open Science, E-ISSN 2054-5703, Vol. 5, no 3, article id 171504Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Dravidian language family consists of about 80 varieties (Hammarstrom H. 2016 Glottolog 2.7) spoken by 220 million people across southern and central India and surrounding countries (Steever SB. 1998 Tn The Dravidian languages (ed. SB Steever), pp. 1-39: 1). Neither the geographical origin of the Dravidian language homeland nor its exact dispersal through time are known. The history of these languages is crucial for understanding prehistory in Eurasia, because despite their current restricted range, these languages played a significant role in influencing other language groups including IndoAryan (Indo-European) and Munda (Austroasiatic) speakers. Here, we report the results of a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of cognate -coded lexical data, elicited first hand from native speakers, to investigate the subgrouping of the Dravidian language family, and provide dates for the major points of diversification. Our results indicate that the Dravidian language family is approximately 4500 years old, a finding that corresponds well with earlier linguistic and archaeological studies. The main branches of the Dravidian language family (North, Central, South I, South II) are recovered, although the placement of languages within these main branches diverges from previous classifications. We find considerable uncertainty with regard to the relationships between the main branches.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ROYAL SOC, 2018
Keywords
Dravidian, Bayesian phylogenetic inference, BEAST 2, dating, language phylogeny
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-351751 (URN)10.1098/rsos.171504 (DOI)000428874600020 ()29657761 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2018-06-04 Created: 2018-06-04 Last updated: 2018-06-04Bibliographically approved
Dunn, M., Dewey, T. K., Arnett, C., Eythorsson, T. & Barddal, J. (2017). Dative sickness: Aphylogenetic analysis of argument structure evolution in Germanic. Language, 93(1), E1-E22
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dative sickness: Aphylogenetic analysis of argument structure evolution in Germanic
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2017 (English)In: Language, ISSN 0097-8507, E-ISSN 1535-0665, Vol. 93, no 1, p. E1-E22Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A major argument against the feasibility of reconstructing syntax for proto-stages is the widely discussed lack of directionality of syntactic change. In a recent typology of changes in argument structure constructions based on Germanic (Barodal 2015), several different, yet opposing, changes are reported. These include, among others, processes sometimes called dative sickness, nominative sickness, and accusative sickness. In order to tease apart the roles of the different processes, we have carried out a phylogenetic trait analysis on a predefined data set of twelve predicates found across the Germanic phyla using the MULTISTATE method. This is, as far as we are aware, the first application of the MULTISTATE method (Pagel et al. 2004) in historical syntax. The results clearly favor one of the models, the dative sickness model, over any other model, as this model is the only one that can accurately account for both the observed diversity of case frames and the independently proposed philological reconstructions. Methods of evolutionary trait analysis can be used to model evolutionary paths of argument structure constructions, and they provide the perfect testing ground for hypotheses arrived at through philological reconstruction, based on classical historical-comparative methods.

Keywords
syntactic reconstruction, noncanonical case-marked subjects, argument structure, phylogenetic methods, historical syntax, Germanic
National Category
Specific Languages
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-376852 (URN)10.1353/lan.2017.0012 (DOI)000445597700001 ()
Funder
EU, European Research Council, 313416
Available from: 2019-02-13 Created: 2019-02-13 Last updated: 2019-02-13Bibliographically approved
Greenhill, S. J., Wu, C.-H., Hua, X., Dunn, M., Levinson, S. C. & Gray, R. D. (2017). Evolutionary dynamics of language systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(42), E8822-E8829
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evolutionary dynamics of language systems
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2017 (English)In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, ISSN 0027-8424, E-ISSN 1091-6490, Vol. 114, no 42, p. E8822-E8829Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Understanding how and why language subsystems differ in their evolutionary dynamics is a fundamental question for historical and comparative linguistics. One key dynamic is the rate of language change. While it is commonly thought that the rapid rate of change hampers the reconstruction of deep language relationships beyond 6,000-10,000 y, there are suggestions that grammatical structures might retainmore signal over time than other subsystems, such as basic vocabulary. In this study, we use a Dirichlet process mixture model to infer the rates of change in lexical and grammatical data from 81 Austronesian languages. We show that, on average, most grammatical features actually change faster than items of basic vocabulary. The grammatical data show less schismogenesis, higher rates of homoplasy, and more bursts of contact-induced change than the basic vocabulary data. However, there is a core of grammatical and lexical features that are highly stable. These findings suggest that different subsystems of language have differing dynamics and that careful, nuanced models of language change will be needed to extract deeper signal from the noise of parallel evolution, areal readaptation, and contact.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
NATL ACAD SCIENCES, 2017
Keywords
language evolution, language dynamics, language phylogenies, typology, linguistics
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-340125 (URN)10.1073/pnas.1700388114 (DOI)000413237900008 ()29073028 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2018-01-31 Created: 2018-01-31 Last updated: 2018-01-31Bibliographically approved
Gavin, M. C., Rangel, T. F., Bowern, C., Colwell, R. K., Kirby, K. R., Botero, C. A., . . . Gray, R. D. (2017). Process-based modelling shows how climate and demography shape language diversity. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 26(5), 584-591
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Process-based modelling shows how climate and demography shape language diversity
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2017 (English)In: Global Ecology and Biogeography, ISSN 1466-822X, E-ISSN 1466-8238, Vol. 26, no 5, p. 584-591Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

AimTwo fundamental questions about human language demand answers: why are so many languages spoken today and why is their geographical distribution so uneven? Although hypotheses have been proposed for centuries, the processes that determine patterns of linguistic and cultural diversity remain poorly understood. Previous studies, which relied on correlative, curve-fitting approaches, have produced contradictory results. Here we present the first application of process-based simulation modelling, derived from macroecology, to examine the distribution of human groups and their languages. LocationThe Australian continent is used as a case study to demonstrate the power of simulation modelling for identifying processes shaping the diversity and distribution of human languages. MethodsProcess-based simulation models allow investigators to hold certain factors constant in order to isolate and assess the impact of modelled processes. We tested the extent to which a minimal set of processes determines the number and spatial distribution of languages on the Australian continent. Our model made three basic assumptions based on previously proposed, but untested, hypotheses: groups fill unoccupied spaces, rainfall limits population density and groups divide after reaching a maximum population. ResultsRemarkably, this simple model accurately predicted the total number of languages (average estimate 406, observed 407), and explained 56% of spatial variation in language richness on the Australian continent. Main conclusionsOur results present strong evidence that current climatic conditions and limits to group size are important processes shaping language diversity patterns in Australia. Our study also demonstrates how simulation models from macroecology can be used to understand the processes that have shaped human cultural diversity across the globe.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
WILEY, 2017
Keywords
Culture, language diversity, macroecology, simulation modelling
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-322688 (URN)10.1111/geb.12563 (DOI)000399900400007 ()
Available from: 2017-05-29 Created: 2017-05-29 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
Birchall, J., Dunn, M. & Greenhill, S. (2016). A combined comparative and phylogenetic analysis of the Chapacuran language family. International Journal of American Linguistics, 82(3), 255-284
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A combined comparative and phylogenetic analysis of the Chapacuran language family
2016 (English)In: International Journal of American Linguistics, ISSN 0020-7071, E-ISSN 1545-7001, Vol. 82, no 3, p. 255-284Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Chapacuran language family, with three extant members and nine historically attested lects, has yet to be classified following modern standards in historical linguistics. This paper presents an internal classification of these languages by combining both the traditional comparative method (CM) and Bayesian phylogenetic inference (BPI). We identify multiple systematic sound correspondences and 285 cognate sets of basic vocabulary using the available documentation. These allow us to reconstruct a large portion of the Proto-Chapacuran phonemic inventory and identify tentative major subgroupings. The cognate sets form the input for the BPI analysis, which uses a stochastic Continuous-Time Markov Chain to model the change of these cognate sets over time. We test various models of lexical substitution and evolutionary clocks, and use ethnohistorical information and data collection dates to calibrate the resulting trees. The CM and BPI analyses produce largely congruent results, suggesting a division of the family into three different clades.

Keywords
Chapacuran languages; historical linguistics; Bayesian phylogenetics; comparative method; Amazonian languages
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-269334 (URN)000380126900001 ()
Funder
Australian Research Council
Available from: 2015-12-15 Created: 2015-12-15 Last updated: 2018-01-10Bibliographically approved
Günther, T., Valdiosera, C., Malmström, H., Urena, I., Rodriguez-Varela, R., Sverrisdóttir, O. Ó., . . . Jakobsson, M. (2015). Ancient genomes link early farmers from Atapuerca in Spain to modern-day Basques. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(38), 11917-11922
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ancient genomes link early farmers from Atapuerca in Spain to modern-day Basques
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2015 (English)In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, ISSN 0027-8424, E-ISSN 1091-6490, Vol. 112, no 38, p. 11917-11922Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The consequences of the Neolithic transition in Europe-one of the most important cultural changes in human prehistory-is a subject of great interest. However, its effect on prehistoric and modern-day people in Iberia, the westernmost frontier of the European continent, remains unresolved. We present, to our knowledge, the first genome-wide sequence data from eight human remains, dated to between 5,500 and 3,500 years before present, excavated in the El Portalon cave at Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain. We show that these individuals emerged from the same ancestral gene pool as early farmers in other parts of Europe, suggesting that migration was the dominant mode of transferring farming practices throughout western Eurasia. In contrast to central and northern early European farmers, the Chalcolithic El Portalon individuals additionally mixed with local southwestern hunter-gatherers. The proportion of hunter-gatherer-related admixture into early farmers also increased over the course of two millennia. The Chalcolithic El Portalon individuals showed greatest genetic affinity to modern-day Basques, who have long been considered linguistic and genetic isolates linked to the Mesolithic whereas all other European early farmers show greater genetic similarity to modern-day Sardinians. These genetic links suggest that Basques and their language may be linked with the spread of agriculture during the Neolithic. Furthermore, all modern-day Iberian groups except the Basques display distinct admixture with Caucasus/Central Asian and North African groups, possibly related to historical migration events. The El Portalon genomes uncover important pieces of the demographic history of Iberia and Europe and reveal how prehistoric groups relate to modern-day people.

Keywords
Ancient DNA, human prehistory, population genomics
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-264621 (URN)10.1073/pnas.1509851112 (DOI)000361525100058 ()26351665 (PubMedID)
Funder
Wenner-Gren FoundationsKnut and Alice Wallenberg FoundationSwedish Research CouncilEU, European Research Council
Available from: 2015-10-26 Created: 2015-10-15 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
Dunn, M. (2015). Language phylogenies. In: Bowern, Claire and Evans, Bethwyn (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Historical Linguistics: (pp. 190-211). Routledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Language phylogenies
2015 (English)In: The Routledge Handbook of Historical Linguistics / [ed] Bowern, Claire and Evans, Bethwyn, Routledge, 2015, p. 190-211Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2015
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-280487 (URN)
Available from: 2016-03-10 Created: 2016-03-10 Last updated: 2018-01-10
Majid, A., Jordan, F. & Dunn, M. (2015). Semantic systems in closely related languages. Language sciences (Oxford), 49, 1-18
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Semantic systems in closely related languages
2015 (English)In: Language sciences (Oxford), ISSN 0388-0001, E-ISSN 1873-5746, Vol. 49, p. 1-18Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-280483 (URN)10.1016/j.langsci.2014.11.002 (DOI)
Available from: 2016-03-10 Created: 2016-03-10 Last updated: 2018-01-10
Majid, A., Dunn, M., Jordan, F., Tufvesson, S. & Becker, N. (2015). Spatial relations in closely related languages. Cognitive Processing, 16, S38-S38
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Spatial relations in closely related languages
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2015 (English)In: Cognitive Processing, ISSN 1612-4782, E-ISSN 1612-4790, Vol. 16, p. S38-S38Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Other academic) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Radboud Univ Nijmegen, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Uppsala Univ, S-75105 Uppsala, Sweden. Univ Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TH, Avon, England.: , 2015
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-280559 (URN)000368472000089 ()
Available from: 2016-03-11 Created: 2016-03-11 Last updated: 2018-01-11
Dunn, M. (2014). Gender determined dialect variation. In: Corbett, Greville G. (Ed.), The expression of gender: (pp. 39-68). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender determined dialect variation
2014 (English)In: The expression of gender / [ed] Corbett, Greville G., Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2014, p. 39-68Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2014
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-280488 (URN)
Available from: 2016-03-10 Created: 2016-03-10 Last updated: 2018-01-10
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-5349-5252

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