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LINGUIST List 21.2826

Wed Jul 07 2010

Diss: Comp Ling/Genetic Classification: Rigon: 'A Quantitative ...'

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        1.    Gabriele Rigon, A Quantitative Approach to the Study of Syntactic Evolution

Message 1: A Quantitative Approach to the Study of Syntactic Evolution
Date: 06-Jul-2010
From: Gabriele Rigon <gab.rigongmail.com>
Subject: A Quantitative Approach to the Study of Syntactic Evolution
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Institution: Università di Pisa
Program: Ph.D in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Gabriele Rigon

Dissertation Title: A Quantitative Approach to the Study of Syntactic Evolution

Dissertation URL: http://etd.adm.unipi.it/theses/available/etd-04262009-142645/

Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics
                            Genetic Classification

Dissertation Director:
Alessandro Lenci
Giuseppe Longobardi

Dissertation Abstract:

In this dissertation a quantitative approach to the study of syntactic
evolution is adopted with the goal of illustrating its applicability, its
effectiveness and its limits. In particular, the investigation is intended
to test diverse quantitative methods of analysis (i.e. phylogenetic
procedures) originally designed within molecular biology and population
genetics on a syntactic comparative data set, with the objective of
reconstructing hypotheses regarding genealogical and areal relationships
between languages and of evaluating them in light of traditional
descriptions of historical linguistics.

On the whole, the quantitative analyses appear to provide good indications
of diverse facts: That phylogenetic techniques are to a large extent
effectively applicable to the study of syntactic evolution, that the
parametric comparison may successfully help shed light on both short- and
long-range genealogical relationships, and that traces of proper
genealogical relatedness are likely to be preserved (and to be recoverable
despite homoplasy, i.e. parallel evolution and contact) at the level of
language 'macro-variation'.

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