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Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary

By David Crystal

Offers a unique view of the English language and its development, and includes witty commentary and anecdotes along the way.


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The Indo-European Controversy: Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics

By Asya Pereltsvaig and Martin W. Lewis

This book "asserts that the origin and spread of languages must be examined primarily through the time-tested techniques of linguistic analysis, rather than those of evolutionary biology" and "defends traditional practices in historical linguistics while remaining open to new techniques, including computational methods" and "will appeal to readers interested in world history and world geography."


Academic Paper


Title: Distributions of Cognates in Europe as Based on Levenshtein Distance
Author: Job Schepens
Institution: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Author: Ton Dijkstra
Institution: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Author: Franc Grootjen
Institution: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Linguistic Field: Computational Linguistics
Subject Language: Dutch
English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Abstract: Researchers on bilingual processing can benefit from computational tools developed in artificial intelligence. We show that a normalized Levenshtein distance function can efficiently and reliably simulate bilingual orthographic similarity ratings. Orthographic similarity distributions of cognates and non-cognates were identified across pairs of six European languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch. Semantic equivalence was determined using the conceptual structure of a translation database. By using a similarity threshold, large numbers of cognates could be selected that nearly completely included the stimulus materials of experimental studies. The identified numbers of form-similar and identical cognates correlated highly with branch lengths of phylogenetic language family trees, supporting the usefulness of the new measure for cross-language comparison. The normalized Levenshtein distance function can be considered as a new formal model of cross-language orthographic similarity.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 15, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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