Edited by Peter Bakker, Finn Borchsenius, Carsten Levisen and Eeva M. Sippola
[Not in series 211] 2017
► pp. 35–58
The main goal of this chapter is to introduce the reader to the parallels and commonalities that exist between the fields of biology and linguistics. Researchers from both fields faced similar problems when seeking to account for the descent and diversification of related entities (species, languages). Therefore, they often sought mutual inspiration and opted for similar solutions. This has resulted in a convergence of models and methods in both fields. This chapter is divided into two parts. Firstly, we review some of the methodological and conceptual developments that have occurred in biology since the emergence of the field of evolutionary biology. There will be an emphasis on the last decade, where a variety of computer-based analyses have been developed. To illustrate the benefits of these tools, phylogenetic methods are applied in the second part of the chapter to a group of high-contact languages (creoles), which have long defied attempts at classification due to their multiple ancestry.
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