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Revisiting Population Size vs. Phoneme Inventory Size


Moran, Steven; McCloy, Daniel; Wright, Richard (2012). Revisiting Population Size vs. Phoneme Inventory Size. Language. Journal of the Linguistic Society of America, 88(4):877-893.

Abstract

In this discussion note we argue against the findings presented in Hay & Bauer 2007, which show a positive correlation between population size and phoneme inventory size. We argue that the positive correlation is an artifact of the authors’ statistical technique and biased data set. Using a hierarchical mixed model to account for genealogical relatedness of languages, and a much larger and more diverse sample of the world’s languages, we find little support for population size as an explanatory predictor of phoneme inventory size once the genealogical relatedness of languages is accounted for.

Abstract

In this discussion note we argue against the findings presented in Hay & Bauer 2007, which show a positive correlation between population size and phoneme inventory size. We argue that the positive correlation is an artifact of the authors’ statistical technique and biased data set. Using a hierarchical mixed model to account for genealogical relatedness of languages, and a much larger and more diverse sample of the world’s languages, we find little support for population size as an explanatory predictor of phoneme inventory size once the genealogical relatedness of languages is accounted for.

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13 citations in Web of Science®
10 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Comparative Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:490 Other languages
890 Other literatures
410 Linguistics
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:03 Jan 2014 07:27
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:08
Publisher:Linguistic Society of America
ISSN:0097-8507
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2012.0087

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