Coevolution of Phonology and the Lexicon in Twelve Languages of West Africa

  title={Coevolution of Phonology and the Lexicon in Twelve Languages of West Africa},
  author={Daniel Nettle},
  journal={J. Quant. Linguistics},
  • D. Nettle
  • Published 1 December 1998
  • Linguistics
  • J. Quant. Linguistics
Abstract Synergetic models of language structure predict that the length of a word will depend upon various parameters such as its frequency and the number of phonemes in the language. This prediction has been used to explain word length differences within languages, but less often to explain the differences between languages. Here I show that average word length across 12 West African languages is related to the size of the phonological inventory. This is an apparent example of the adaptation… 

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