Phylolinguistics: Tackling old questions with modern methods.

Last week I presented a talk to the School of Culture, History and Language at Australia National University on Phylolinguistics:

The last few years have seen a wave of new computational phylogenetic approaches entering historical linguistics. The application of these computational methods to linguistics is perhaps “one of the most vibrant contemporary streams of comparative linguistics”. Whilst linguistics is not unfamiliar with computational methods, these new methods go far beyond the simplistic and flawed analyses of lexicostatistics or glottochronology. The new approaches have great potential for illuminating long-standing questions about language subgrouping and human prehistory, for exploring how different aspects of languages change and evolve over time, and for investigating the co-evolution of language structures. In this talk I will discuss some of my recent work on these issues.