Dr. Simon J. Greenhill
Koile E, Greenhill SJ, Blasi DE, Bouckaert R, & Gray RD. 2022. Phylogeographic analysis of the Bantu language expansion supports a rainforest route. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(32).
Abstract PDF 10.1073/pnas.2112853119
The Bantu expansion transformed the linguistic, economic, and cultural composition of sub-Saharan Africa. However, the exact dates and routes taken by the ancestors of the speakers of the more than 500 current Bantu languages remain uncertain. Here, we use the recently developed “break-away” geographical diffusion model, specially designed for modeling migrations, with “augmented” geographic …
List JM, Forkel R, Greenhill SJ, Rzymski C, Englisch J & Gray RD. 2022. Lexibank, a public repository of standardized wordlists with computed phonological and lexical features. Scientific Data, 9(1): 316.
Abstract PDF 10.1038/s41597-022-01432-0
the past decades have seen substantial growth in digital data on the world’s languages. at the same time, the demand for cross-linguistic datasets has been increasing, as witnessed by numerous studies devoted to diverse questions on human prehistory, cultural evolution, and human cognition. Unfortunately, most published datasets lack standardization which makes their comparison difficult. Here, we …
Tresoldi T, Rzymski C, Forkel R, Greenhill SJ, List JM, & Gray R. 2022. Managing historical linguistic data for computational phylogenetics and computer-assisted language comparison. In Andrea L. Berez-Kroeker, Bradley McDonnell, Eve Koller, & Lauren B. Collister (Eds). Open Handbook of Linguistic Data Management.
Abstract PDF 10.7551/mitpress/12200.001.0001
Computational phylogenetics is a relatively recent branch of historical linguistics that uses quantitative techniques to investigate the history of related languages. As the classical comparative method is less explicit on the techniques for constructing phylogenies of language families (see discussion in Jacques & List 2019), such a new approach can complement traditional techniques for …
Bromham L, Dinnage R, Skirgård H, Ritchie A, Cardillo M, Meakins F, Greenhill S & Hua X. 2021. Global predictors of language endangerment and the future of linguistic diversity. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 6: 163–173.
Abstract PDF 10.1038/s41559-021-01604-y
Language diversity is under threat. While each language is subject to specific social, demographic and political pressures, there may also be common threatening processes. We use an analysis of 6,511 spoken languages with 51 predictor variables spanning aspects of population, documentation, legal recognition, education policy, socioeconomic indicators and environmental features to show that, …
Leisterer-Peoples SM, Ross CT, Greenhill SJ, Hardecker S & Haun DBM. 2021. Games and enculturation: A cross-cultural analysis of cooperative goal structures in Austronesian games. PLOS ONE 16(11): e0259746.
Abstract PDF 10.1371/journal.pone.0259746
While most animals play, only humans play games. As animal play serves to teach offspring important life-skills in a safe scenario, human games might, in similar ways, teach important culturally relevant skills. Humans in all cultures play games; however, it is not clear whether variation in the characteristics of games across cultural groups is related to group-level attributes. Here we …
Glottobank is an international research consortium established to document and understand the world’s linguistic diversity. We have established five global databases documenting variation in language structure (Grambank), lexicon (Lexibank), paradigm systems (Parabank), numerals (Numeralbank), and phonetic changes (Phonobank).
From the foods we eat, to who we can marry, to the types of games we teach our children, the diversity of cultural practices in the world is astounding. Yet, our ability to visualize and understand this diversity is often limited by the ways it traditionally has been documented and shared: on a culture-by-culture basis, in locally-told stories or difficult-to-access books and articles. D-PLACE represents an attempt to bring together this dispersed corpus of information.
TransNewGuinea.org is a database of the Trans-New Guinea language family and friends. The Trans-New Guinea language family currently occupies most of the interior of New Guinea. This family is possibly the third largest in the world with 400 languages and is tentatively thought to have originated with root-crop agriculture around 10,000 years ago. However, vanishingly little is known about this family’s history.
The Polynesian Lexicon Project Online is a large-scale comparative dictionary of Polynesian languages.
The Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database is the world’s largest cross-linguistic database of the Pacific. It contains ~300,000 lexical items from ~1,600 languages spoken throughout the Pacific region.