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12 juni 2012: Lezing door Charles Yang, University of Pennsylvania

Plaats: Meertens Instituut, Keizerzaal
Tijd: 15.00 uur

Abstract (English)

The long term goal of this work is to establish a mathematical foundation of language change–analogous to population genetics–by
formalizing the dynamics of linguistic transmission (i.e. language acquisition). We present three case studies: (1) word order changes in
the history of French, (2) the spread of the cot-caught merger in New England, and (3) more tentatively, the leveling of the feminine
indefinite article “ene” in Dutch.  We show these to be predictable changes once certain numerical conditions of the linguistic environment are met.