The shape and tempo of language evolution.

  title={The shape and tempo of language evolution.},
  author={Simon J. Greenhill and Quentin D. Atkinson and Andrew Meade and Russell D Gray},
  journal={Proceedings. Biological sciences},
  volume={277 1693},
There are approximately 7000 languages spoken in the world today. This diversity reflects the legacy of thousands of years of cultural evolution. How far back we can trace this history depends largely on the rate at which the different components of language evolve. Rates of lexical evolution are widely thought to impose an upper limit of 6000-10,000 years on reliably identifying language relationships. In contrast, it has been argued that certain structural elements of language are much more… CONTINUE READING
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