Chapter 28Waves in computer simulations of linguistic diffusion
Since the 19th century, the wave has been a key concept in descriptions of the diffusion of linguistic innovations in speaker communities. Recently, the study of language change through computer modeling and simulations has become more widespread. The aim of this paper is to investigate whether computer simulations of linguistic diffusion show wavelike phenomena. A brief review of diffusion mechanisms from previous literature is presented, followed by the description of a new software framework for testing hypotheses (PDIFFSIM) and a report of some results of own simulations. These results show that it is possible to implement a diffusion mechanism which produces waves of diminishing strength. Despite this, it is ultimately concluded that diffusion processes in the real world are better thought of as cascades in social networks rather than waves. Limiting factors of real world diffusion processes are rather to be sought in language-internal and -external restrictions.
- 2.A brief review of diffusion mechanisms
- 3.The weakening of waves
- 4.Own simulations using the PDIFFSIM simulation framework
- 5.Implementation of the wave mechanism