Discuss results - vowels

Vowels in mass lexical comparison within Indo-European languages
Posted by: Jennifer L. on July 15, 2013, 23:16
As far as I can see, you simply ignore vowels. There is no reason to ignore them as there are clear patterns of their evolution within the Indo-European language family!
Posted by: Vincent on July 22, 2013, 22:44
Using only consonants is a methodological choice. I am convinced that vowels' evolution patterns are useful for comparisons of languages within shorter periods. This might be fine within sub-families of the Indo-European group of languages. In this study, the mass lexical comparison goes beyond the sole Indo-European family and I don't think that universal vowel evolution rules can be useful here: the pace of evolution of consonants is simply much slower than that of vowels. I think the comparison of consonants being like bones and vowel being like skin or flesh is the right methaphor. If we try to quantify a genetic proximity between languages beyond language families, we do so with languages sharing a possible common origin older than 10000 years. Vowels have no more chance to leave clues after such a long time, just as flesh doesn't on human bodies after longer times.
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