Based on results from computational historical linguistics and statistical typology, CrossLingferences goal is to establish a probabilistic framework to analyze change and diversification processes in language. This enables the investigation of issues located at the interface of historical linguistics and typology. On the one hand, existing methods and algorithms should be adapted and on the other hand novel approaches should be developed to answer these questions. Special attention will be paid to hierarchical Bayesian methods.
Based on the resources of the NorthEuralex database lexical reconstruction should be done using existing algorithms. In a second step, novel algorithms should be developed which are able to generalize across different language families.
The aim of this work package is the development of algorithms which are tailored to the specific needs for the phylogenetic comparative methods. Especially, the capability to analyze multiple phylogenies over disjoint taxon sets and the availability of several birth-death processes is necessary.
Typological variation is known to be heavily influenced by language contact. In this work package language contact should be analyzed using auto-logistic autoregressive models.
While the models which will be developed in work packages 1-3 are influenced by traditional MCMC variants, the aim of this work package is to explore the use cases of Approximate Bayesian Computation. Especially models for lexical reconstruction and language contact should be developed which are intractable using classical methods.
To realize the potential impact of the CrossLingference, the algorithms and methods developed in this project should be made available as a software library to the scientific community.