It was about one and a half years ago that I finally I arrived where I had always wanted to be and do what I had always wanted-- teach students, support small language communities and conduct research on African languages on my doorstep. The University of Cape Town and my new colleagues welcomed my efforts to establish the Centre for African Language Diversity-- CALDi as well as The African Language Archive-- TALA and I was recently appointed the Mellon Research Chair: African Language Diversity this initiative. The main aim of CALDi is to train young African scholars in descriptive linguistics and open up space for research into African languages at UCT with the hopes of countering the dominance of African linguistics outside the continent. It has been a great challenge for which my whole career has been a form of preparation...Read more
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A Note Regarding ‘On the power-law distribution of language family sizes’
Wichmann (2005) discusses the power-law distribution n=ar as a description of the relationship between the number of languages n in a language family, and the rank r of that family in a list ordered by decreasing n. Two datasets are used by Wichmann, one from Ethnologue (Grimes 2000), which lists 130 language families, and one from Ruhlen (1987), listing 21 families. We have reanalysed these data and find that the method of fitting a power-law used in the paper is not optimal because it does not allow for a sensible maximum value for the family size n.