LINGUIST List 32.1039

Mon Mar 22 2021

Disc: Measuring Relatedness among Languages

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 18-Mar-2021
From: Karen Pennesi <>
Subject: Measuring Relatedness among Languages
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I received an inquiry from a colleague in psychiatry who works with immigrants. He is asking if there is a way to measure the "distance" between languages in order to generate hypotheses about cognitive effort required to learn L2 when L1 is very different (i.e. from a different language family). Can anyone recommend literature on L2 acquisition that compares the grammatical, phonological etc. features of L1 and L2 to inform this potential argument that the more different two languages are, the more difficulty learners face?

Thank you for any leads. I will pass them on.

Linguistic Field(s): Genetic Classification
                            Historical Linguistics
                            Language Acquisition

Page Updated: 22-Mar-2021