Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2452-1949
  • E-ISSN: 2452-2147
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In the present article we distinguish the concept of as articulated in Mufwene (2001ff) from that of developed especially by Mühlhäusler (1996ff) , Fill and Mühlhäusler (2001) , Couto (2009) , and several contributors to Fill and Benz (to appear) . We explain how Mufwene’s concept, inspired primarily by macroecology, applies to language evolution. We articulate various factors internal and external to a language that bear on how it emerged phylogenetically, underwent particular structural changes, and, in some cases, may have speciated into separate varieties. The external ecology also influences the vitality of languages, rolling the dice on whether they thrive or are endangered. Because these particular phenomena have been elaborately discussed in Mufwene’s earlier publications, we devote more space to explaining how the notion of , as others call it, also applies as a useful heuristic tool to qualitative sociolinguistics.


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