Article published in:Tracking Language Evolution as an Interdisciplinary, Cross-Theoretical Enterprise
Edited by Livio Gaeta
[Evolutionary Linguistic Theory 2:2] 2020
► pp. 127–137
What are the determinants of survival curves of words?
An evolutionary linguistics approach
An evolutionary approach to historical linguistics can be enlightening when not only the mechanisms, but also the statistical methods are considered from neighboring disciplines. In this short paper, we apply survival analysis to investigate what factors determine the lifespan of words. Our case study is on post-classical Greek from the 4th century bc to the beginning of the 8th century ad. We find that lower frequency and phonetically longer lexemes suffer earlier deaths. Furthermore, verbs turn out to have higher survival rates than adjectives and nouns.
Keywords: Survival Analysis, Kaplan-Meier estimator, Cox proportional hazard model, post-classical Greek, papyri
Published online: 15 January 2021
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