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Title: How close is one language to another?
Contributor(s): van Driem, George (author)
Publication Date: 2013
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Abstract: Just how closely is English related to Danish, or to Gujarati? The idea of putting a number on the distance between languages was first explored in 1831 by Samuel Rafinesque, who invented lexicostatistics in order to win a competition in Paris of the Société de Géographie, to determine the origin of Asiatic negritos. Since there were no other contenders, he was awarded a 'médaille d'encouragement' worth only 100 francs rather than the advertised gold medal of 1000 francs. Rafinesque's negative finding showed the languages of disparate negrito peoples to be unrelated. It was never published, but his method was popularized by Jules Dumont d'Urville, who headed the jury.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Human Evolutionary Genetics, p. 9-9
Publisher: Garland Science
Place of Publication: New York, United States of America
ISBN: 9780815341482
Field of Research (FOR): 200402 Computational Linguistics
200406 Language in Time and Space (incl Historical Linguistics, Dialectology)
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
HERDC Category Description: B3 Chapter in a Revision/New Edition of a Book
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