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The measurement of linguistic change

A study in the field of human development

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Two methods for measuring the amount of linguistic change are described: 1. It is possible to measure the correspondence between two phoneme inventories of two periods in a language's development in the same way as in information theory between the inventories of the transmitted and received symbols (measure of correspondence B). 2. This first method, however, does not measure the development of a phonologic pattern. Therefore the correlation of similarity is computed (as applicated in the psychology of development).

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  1. Hockett, Ch. F.: A manual of phonology. Baltimore: Waverly Press 1955.

  2. —: Review of biological foundations of language, by E. H. Lenneberg. Sci. Amer. 217, 141–144 (1967).

  3. Hofstätter, P. R.: Psychologie. Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer Bücherei 1965.

  4. Meyer-Eppler, W.: Grundlagen und Anwendungen der Informationstheorie. Berlin-Göttingen-Heidelberg: Springer 1959.

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Schuhmacher, W.W. The measurement of linguistic change. Kybernetik 5, 219–221 (1969).

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  • Information Theory
  • Receive Symbol
  • Phonologic Pattern
  • Linguistic Change
  • Phoneme Inventory