Center for Computational and Theoretical Biology

Language Change

Already in 1871 Charles Darwin mused about curious parallels between the formation of languages and species. As biology, also linguistics today faces the emergence of big data, enabling large-scale, quantitative analyses. We are using our experience in the analyses of protein evolution to sift through these data. The long term goal of this project is to identify traces of an individual’s processing of language within the collective evolution of the vocabulary.  


  • {{W}ord formation is aware of morpheme family size}. Keller, D. B.; Schultz, J. In PLoS ONE, 9(4), bl e93978. 2014.
  • {{C}onnectivity, not frequency, determines the fate of a morpheme}. Keller, D. B.; Schultz, J. In PLoS ONE, 8(7), bl e69945. 2013.
  • Morpheme networks reveal language dynamics. Keller, Daniela Barbara; Schultz, Jörg. In Actes des 11es Journées Internationales d’Analyse Statistique des Données Textuelles / Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on the Statistical Analysis of Textual Data. 2012.