Curious Parallels and Curious Connections—Phylogenetic Thinking in Biology and historical linguistics
Atkinson, Q. and Gray, R.D. (2005). Curious parallels and curious connections: Phylogenetic thinking in biology and historical linguistics. Systematic Biology, 54(4), 513-526.
In The Descent of Man (1871), Darwin observed “curious parallels” between the processes of biological and linguistic evolution. These parallels mean that evolutionary biologists and historical linguists seek answers to similar questions and face similar problems. As a result, the theory and methodology of the two disciplines have evolved in remarkably similar ways. In addition to Darwin’s curious parallels of process, there are a number of equally curious parallels and connections between the development of methods in biology and historical linguistics. Here we briefly review the parallels between biological and linguistic evolution and contrast the historical development of phylogenetic methods in the two disciplines. We then look at a number of recent studies that have applied phylogenetic methods to language data and outline some current problems shared by the two fields. [Comparative method; Darwin; evolution; historical linguistics; phylogeny; Schleicher.]
- Curious Parallels and Curious Connections—Phylogenetic Thinking in Biology and historical linguistics
- How old is the Indo-European language family?
- Language-tree divergence times support the Anatolian theory of Indo-European origin
- From words to dates: Water into wine, mathemagic or phylogenetic inference?
- Untangling Our Past: Languages, Trees, Splits and Networks
- The Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database: From Bioinformatics to Lexomics
- Pushing the time barrier in the quest for language roots
- The Pleasures and Perils of Darwinizing Culture (with phylogenies)
- How Accurate and Robust Are the Phylogenetic Estimates of Austronesian Language Relationships?
- Language trees support the express-train sequence of Austronesian expansion