This paper discusses the validity of the tree model of evolution for the particular case of Sinitic languages (or Chinese dialects). Our approach is lexically based, using standardized word lists. First, these lists were tested for their congruence, as they are supposed to have evolved at different rates. Then, we undertook a phylogenetic analysis, using both a distance-based lexicostatistical method and a character-based maximum parsimony method. The traditional classification of Chinese dialects is recovered to various extents depending on the method and on the word list used, but the character-based analysis of the 200 Swadesh word list outperforms all other analyses. Finally, the validity of the branching patterns obtained was tested using a variety of techniques. Although the data fits the inferred trees well, the topology of these trees is collapsed to a star-like pattern when investigated through resampling methods. The application of a network method confirms that the development of these Sinitic languages is not tree-like, highlighting the fact that in cases like this tree-reconstruction methods can be misleading.
2011. Chapitre 42. La linguistique historique, nouveau terrain d’expérimentation de la phylogénie. In Les mondes darwiniens. Volume 2, ► pp. 1235 ff.
Ben Hamed, Mahé
2015. Phylo-linguistics: Enacting Darwin’s Linguistic Image. In Handbook of Evolutionary Thinking in the Sciences, ► pp. 825 ff.
Blanchard, Ph., J.R. Dawin & D. Volchenkov
2010. Markov chains or the game of structure and chance. The European Physical Journal Special Topics 184:1 ► pp. 1 ff.
Blanchard, Ph., F. Petroni, M. Serva & D. Volchenkov
2011. Geometric representations of language taxonomies. Computer Speech & Language 25:3 ► pp. 679 ff.
Blanchard, Philippe & Dimitri Volchenkov
2011. When Feedbacks Matter: Epidemics, Synchronization, and Self-regulation in Complex Networks. In Random Walks and Diffusions on Graphs and Databases [Springer Series in Synergetics, 10], ► pp. 171 ff.
Blanchard, Philippe & Dimitri Volchenkov
2011. Critical Phenomena on Large Graphs with Regular Subgraphs. In Random Walks and Diffusions on Graphs and Databases [Springer Series in Synergetics, 10], ► pp. 219 ff.
2008. Evolutionary Linguistics. Annual Review of Anthropology 37:1 ► pp. 219 ff.
Jacques, Guillaume & Johann-Mattis List
2019. Save the trees. Journal of Historical Linguistics 9:1 ► pp. 128 ff.
Lee, Sean & Igor Mokrousov
2015. A Sketch of Language History in the Korean Peninsula. PLOS ONE 10:5 ► pp. e0128448 ff.
Lin, Chu-Cheng & Richard Tzong-Han Tsai
2012. A Generative Data Augmentation Model for Enhancing Chinese Dialect Pronunciation Prediction. IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing 20:4 ► pp. 1109 ff.
2015. Chances and Challenges: 從演化網絡的角度來研究漢語方言史——機遇與挑戰. Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics 8:1 ► pp. 27 ff.
2016. Beyond cognacy: historical relations between words and their implication for phylogenetic reconstruction. Journal of Language Evolution 1:2 ► pp. 119 ff.
2023. Evolutionary Aspects of Language Change. In Evolutionary Thinking Across Disciplines [Synthese Library, 478], ► pp. 103 ff.
2019. Automated methods for the investigation of language contact, with a focus on lexical borrowing. Language and Linguistics Compass 13:10
List, Johann-Mattis, Simon J. Greenhill, Russell D. Gray & Robert C Berwick
2017. The Potential of Automatic Word Comparison for Historical Linguistics. PLOS ONE 12:1 ► pp. e0170046 ff.
List, Johann‐Mattis, Shijulal Nelson‐Sathi, Hans Geisler & William Martin
2014. Networks of lexical borrowing and lateral gene transfer in language and genome evolution. BioEssays 36:2 ► pp. 141 ff.
Nelson-Sathi, Shijulal, Johann-Mattis List, Hans Geisler, Heiner Fangerau, Russell D. Gray, William Martin & Tal Dagan
2011. Networks uncover hidden lexical borrowing in Indo-European language evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 278:1713 ► pp. 1794 ff.
Prokić, Jelena & John Nerbonne
2008. Recognising Groups among Dialects. International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing 2:1-2 ► pp. 153 ff.
2023. Annotating cognates in phylogenetic studies of Southeast Asian languages. Language Dynamics and Change 13:2 ► pp. 161 ff.
[no author supplied]
2011. References. In Dialectology as Dialectic, ► pp. 460 ff.
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