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Re: Linguistic "budding and reticulation"

In a message dated 6/4/01 3:08:20 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
kinman@hotmail.com writes:

    I have always thought that the similarities between linguistic and
biological evolution rather intriguing, since languages paraphyletically
off from one another rather than actually splitting in cladistic fashion.  

Well, sometimes.  If you have a small group of speakers isolated from a much
larger group, whose language is to some extent codified and standardized,
then you might expect to see a "budding"-type effect.  If, on the other hand,
a small population splits more or less evenly between, say, two isolated
river valleys, and communication between them is largely cut off, then you
might expect to see more of a sister-group split, as each branch accumulates
its own innovations.

--Nick P.