Profiling language families by their kin term patterns: A Computational approachVladimir Pericliev
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Anthropologist G. P. Murdock’s collection of kin term patterns of 566 languages is grouped into language families according to Ethnologue, and a sophisticated computer program is employed to profile the language families, so that each language family is distinguished from all others in the most parsimonious way. The discovered language family profiles reveal that kin term patterns may be considered as strong indicators of genetic affiliation, the patterns for siblings, their spouses and their children being the best predictors of affiliation. A number of hypotheses regarding language family membership are evaluated in the light of the discovered language family profiles and it is suggested that the list of profiles can serve as a point of reference for diverse problems in historical-comparative linguistics and typology.
The author is a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences). His main research interests are focused on machine discovery in linguistics. He has published in various scientific journals, summarizing his efforts in the first monograph on the subject (“Machine-Aided Linguistic Discovery: An Introduction and Some Examples” 2010). The present book is a further contribution to the field.
ISBN 9783862880546. LINCOM Etymological Studies 02. 177pp. 2011.