Quantifying the strength of factors leading to lexical change
- Eduardo Altmann (Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden, Germany)
Fakhteh Ghanbarnejad, Martin Gerlach, José M. Miotto, Eduardo G. Altmann
In this work we investigate how much information on the process of language change can be inferred from the shape of the adoption curve of a lexical innovation. We investigate simple models in which an innovation spreads in a network of speakers due to two different factors: exogenous and endogenous to the speakers. We propose a measure that quantifies the strength of each of these factors and we test different methods to estimate this measure from the adoption curves. We apply our methods to different historical examples of lexical change: regularization of verbs in English, romanization of Russian names in German and English, and orthographic reforms in German.
Reference: "Extracting information from S-curves of language change", J. R. Soc. Interface 11, 20141044 (2014)