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dc.contributor.authorRácz, Péter
dc.contributor.authorPassmore, Sam
dc.contributor.authorSheard, Catherine
dc.contributor.authorJordan, Fiona M.
dc.identifier.citationRácz , P , Passmore , S , Sheard , C & Jordan , F M 2019 , ' Usage frequency and lexical class determine the evolution of kinship terms in Indo-European ' , Royal Society Open Science , vol. 6 , no. 10 , 191385 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 263919487
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: bb8b8b1f-1285-4c86-b199-2c09c9bace1b
dc.identifier.otherRIS: urn:DE11A1C5B5E33617345C2D3576061CD7
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85074692776
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000510431100059
dc.descriptionThis research was funded by the European Research Council's Horizon 2020 programme under Starting Grant no. 639291 VARIKIN to F.M.J.en
dc.description.abstractLanguages do not replace their vocabularies at an even rate: words endure longer if they are used more frequently. This effect, which has parallels in evolutionary biology, has been demonstrated for the core vocabulary, a set of common, unrelated meanings. The extent to which it replicates in closed lexical classes remains to be seen, and may indicate how general this effect is in language change. Here, we use phylogenetic comparative methods to investigate the history of 10 kinship categories, a type of closed lexical class of content words, across 47 Indo-European languages. We find that their rate of replacement is correlated with their usage frequency, and this relationship is stronger than in the case of the core vocabulary, even though the envelope of variation is comparable across the two cases. We also find that the residual variation in the rate of replacement of kinship terms is related to genealogical distance of referent to kin. We argue that this relationship is the result of social changes and corresponding shifts in the entire semantic class of kinship terms, shifts typically not present in the core vocabulary. Thus, an understanding of the scope and limits of social change is needed to understand changes in kinship systems, and broader context is necessary to model cultural evolution in particular and the process of system change in general.
dc.relation.ispartofRoyal Society Open Scienceen
dc.rightsCopyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.en
dc.subjectCultural evolutionen
dc.subjectLanguage changeen
dc.subjectKinship systemsen
dc.subjectLanguage useen
dc.subjectQH301 Biologyen
dc.titleUsage frequency and lexical class determine the evolution of kinship terms in Indo-Europeanen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.School of Biologyen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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