Information-theoretic causal inference of lexical flow
This volume seeks to infer large phylogenetic networks from phonetically encoded lexical data and contribute in this way to the historical study of language varieties. The technical step that enables progress in this case is the use of causal inference algorithms. Sample sets of words from language varieties are preprocessed into automatically inferred cognate sets, and then modeled as information-theoretic variables based on an intuitive measure of cognate overlap. Causal inference is then applied to these variables in order to determine the existence and direction of influence among the varieties. The directed arcs in the resulting graph structures can be interpreted as reflecting the existence and directionality of lexical flow, a unified model which subsumes inheritance and borrowing as the two main ways of transmission that shape the basic lexicon of languages.
PublisherLanguage Science Press
Publication date and placeBerlin, 2019-09-11