Combining Regular Sound Correspondences and Geographic Spread

in Language Dynamics and Change
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In this paper we combine the geographic variation of closely related language variants (‘dialects’) with the distribution of sound correspondences through the lexicon. One of the central problems with sound correspondences at the dialect level is that they are not very regular, especially when they are investigated in sufficient detail. Sound changes spread both through a language (e.g., from one word to another) and through the population of speakers (in our case through a population of villages with different dialects). Both processes happen at the same time, and the challenge is to reconstruct what has happened from a snapshot of synchronic data. The method described in this paper allows us to track the geographic spread of sound changes and the underlying patterns of linguistic diversity simultaneously. By combining the two, it is possible to detect areas of intensive linguistic contact and gain better insight into the mechanisms of language change.

Combining Regular Sound Correspondences and Geographic Spread

in Language Dynamics and Change

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    Figure 1. Histogram of the association values, calculated using the Poisson association measure

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    Figure 2. Histogram of the association values, calculated using pointwise mutual information

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    Figure 3. Distribution of the sites in the data set

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    Figure 4. Each site in the data is connected only to neighboring sites

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    Figure 5. Innovations spread in a wave-like manner to the neighboring villages. Here we illustrate the spread of change from the village of Vrachesh to the neighboring villages

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    Figure 6. Highly stable sounds, like the sound [p] in word pat /pˈɤt/ ‘road,’ show high association strength. Note that regular association is shown with lighter colours. The depicted values are the negative logarithm of the Poisson association

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    Figure 7. Some highly variable sounds, like the sound [ˈɤ] in the word mazh /mˈɤʒ/ ‘man,’ still show high association strength, which indicates that the change has already spread

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    Figure 8. Here we illustrate the variation of sound [e] in word kade /kˈɤde/ ‘where.’ Sites with irregular correspondences are connected with dark lines, which indicate transition areas. The depicted values are the negative logarithm of the Poisson association

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    Figure 9. This map shows the variation of the second [ˈa] in word glava /glavˈa/ ‘head.’ Irregular correspondences marked with dark lines, indicating transition areas, are found along the north-to-south ‘yat’ line, marked with the black tick line, and in the south

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    Figure 10. Edges with a higher number of correspondences whose association strength is below 5 are colored darker and are found in the south of the country. Areas in the north-west, south-west and central-east are characterized by highly regular sound correspondences and we represent them with lighter shades

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