Phylogenetic Methods and the Prehistory of Languages

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Peter Forster, Colin Renfrew
McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2006 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 198 pages
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Evolutionary ('phylogenetic') trees were first used to infer lost histories nearly two centuries ago by manuscript scholars reconstructing original texts. Today, computer methods are enabling phylogenetic trees to transform genetics, historical linguistics and even the archaeological study of artefact shapes and styles. But which phylogenetic methods are best suited to retracing the evolution of languages? And which types of language data are most informative about deep prehistory? In this book, leading specialists engage with these key questions. Essential reading for linguists, geneticists and archaeologists, these studies demonstrate how phylogenetic tools are illuminating previously intractable questions about language prehistory. This innovative volume arose from a conference of linguists, geneticists and archaeologists held at Cambridge in 2004.

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Johanna Nichols Arne Rohl
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About the author (2006)

Colin Renfrew (Professor Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn) is Emeritus Disney Professor and Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge University. He is the author and editor of a large number of publications, including Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice, with Paul Bahn, which is one of the standard textbooks on the subject.

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