September 01, 2014

3:59 PM | From Macroanalysis to Cultural Evolution
The purpose of this post is to recast the work reported in Macroanalysis: Digital Methods & Literary History in terms appropriate to cultural evolution. The idea is to propose a model of cultural evolution and assign objects from Jockerss analysis to play roles in that model. I will leave Jockers’ work untouched. All I’m doing […]

August 20, 2014

12:26 AM | Reading Macroanalysis 6.1: Theme–Dogs, Gold, Slavery, and Awakening
Over at New Savanna I’ve been blogging my way though Matthew Jockers, Macroanalysis: Digital Methods & Literary History, University of Illinois Press, 2013. I figured this particular post would be of interest here. If you’re not familiar wiht topic analysis, there’s some links below that’ll help you out. Chapter 8 of Macroanalysis is about “Theme.” […]

August 19, 2014

8:35 AM | Functional trade-off between lexical tone and intonation
Languages can use pitch to make lexical contrasts (so called tone languages) or to mark contrasts at the utterance level, usually called intonation, such as using rising pitch to indicate a question as opposed to a statement.  In fact, a language can use pitch to do both by various means such as changes in pitch […]

August 13, 2014

7:13 AM | PhD positions in the Dynamics of Language
The ARC centre of excellence for the Dynamics of language is offering a number of PhD positions, including on the topic of language evolution.  The positions are hosted at ANU in Canberra, the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland.  These are on top of the Wellsprings of Diversity positions. From the website: The […]

August 12, 2014

10:51 AM | Review of correlational studies in linguistics
Articles from the first edition of the Annual Review of Linguistics are appearing online this week.  Bob Ladd, Dan Dediu and I wrote a review of correlations in linguistics. We review a number of recent studies that have identified either correlations between different linguistic features (e.g., implicational universals) or correlations between linguistic features and nonlinguistic properties […]

August 03, 2014

3:31 PM | Mind-Culture Coevolution: Major Transitions in the Development of Human Culture and Society

This is revised from the introduction to a website I put up in the old days of web 1.0, all in hand-coded HTML. Where I’ve since uploaded downloadable versions of the documents I’ve used those links in this revised introduction, but you’re welcome to access the online versions from the old introduction. Mind and Culture […]
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