Volume 34, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0176-4225
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9714
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This paper presents properties of a computer simulation of language migration. It takes as input a simulated phylogeny and a database of today’s populated places. At each time step, a language moves within a geographical quadrilateral defined by the minimal number, , of choices of populated places within the quadrilateral. The result is a constrained random walk defined by a combination of the parameter and the landscape, which comes into play via the restriction of the walk to populated places. The distribution of move distances is qualitatively similar across values of and resembles a Gamma distribution. Through comparisons with densities of real-world language families, the values of which yield the closest fits between real and simulated data are found.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Gamma distribution; linguistic diversity; Lévy flight; migration; random walk; simulation
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