Languages Evolve in Punctuational Bursts

@article{Atkinson2008LanguagesEI,
  title={Languages Evolve in Punctuational Bursts},
  author={Q. Atkinson and A. Meade and Chris Venditti and S. Greenhill and M. Pagel},
  journal={Science},
  year={2008},
  volume={319},
  pages={588 - 588}
}
Linguists speculate that human languages often evolve in rapid or punctuational bursts, sometimes associated with their emergence from other languages, but this phenomenon has never been demonstrated. We used vocabulary data from three of the world's major language groups—Bantu, Indo-European, and Austronesian—to show that 10 to 33% of the overall vocabulary differences among these languages arose from rapid bursts of change associated with language-splitting events. Our findings identify a… Expand
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