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      Positing Language Relationships Using ALINE

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      Language Dynamics and Change

      BRILL

      ALINE, AUTOMATIC LANGUAGE CLASSIFICATION, ASJP, LANGUAGE PHYLOGENIES

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          Most cited references 18

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          Neighbor-joining revealed.

          It is nearly 20 years since the landmark paper (Saitou and Nei 1987) in Molecular Biology and Evolution introducing Neighbor-Joining (NJ). The method has become the most widely used method for building phylogenetic trees from distances, and the original paper has been cited about 13,000 times (Science Citation Index). Yet the question "what does the NJ method seek to do?" has until recently proved somewhat elusive, leading to some imprecise claims and misunderstanding. However, a rigorous answer to this question has recently been provided by further mathematical investigation, and the purpose of this note is to highlight these results and their significance for interpreting NJ. The origins of this story lie in a paper by Pauplin (2000) though its continuation has unfolded in more mathematically inclined literature. Our aim here is to make these findings more widely accessible.
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            On the shape and fabric of human history.

            In this paper we outline two debates about the nature of human cultural history. The first focuses on the extent to which human history is tree-like (its shape), and the second on the unity of that history (its fabric). Proponents of cultural phylogenetics are often accused of assuming that human history has been both highly tree-like and consisting of tightly linked lineages. Critics have pointed out obvious exceptions to these assumptions. Instead of a priori dichotomous disputes about the validity of cultural phylogenetics, we suggest that the debate is better conceptualized as involving positions along continuous dimensions. The challenge for empirical research is, therefore, to determine where particular aspects of culture lie on these dimensions. We discuss the ability of current computational methods derived from evolutionary biology to address these questions. These methods are then used to compare the extent to which lexical evolution is tree-like in different parts of the world and to evaluate the coherence of cultural and linguistic lineages.
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              Towards Greater Accuracy in Lexicostatistic Dating

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                22105832
                Language Dynamics and Change
                LDC
                BRILL (The Netherlands )
                2210-5824
                2210-5832
                2011
                : 1
                : 1
                : 128-162
                Article
                10.1163/221058211X577964
                © 2011 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands

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