2,302 research outputs found

    Modeling the life and death of competing languages from a physical and mathematical perspective

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    Recent contributions address the problem of language coexistence as that of two species competing to aggregate speakers, thus focusing on the dynamics of linguistic traits across populations. They draw inspiration from physics and biology and share some underlying ideas -- e. g. the search for minimal schemes to explain complex situations or the notion that languages are extant entities in a societal context and, accordingly, that objective, mathematical laws emerge driving the aforementioned dynamics. Different proposals pay attention to distinct aspects of such systems: Some of them emphasize the distribution of the population in geographical space, others research exhaustively the role of bilinguals in idealized situations (e. g. isolated populations), and yet others rely extremely on equations taken unchanged from physics or biology and whose parameters bear actual geometrical meaning. Despite the sources of these models -- so unrelated to linguistics -- sound results begin to surface that establish conditions and make testable predictions regarding language survival within populations of speakers, with a decisive role reserved to bilingualism. Here we review the most recent works and their interesting outcomes stressing their physical theoretical basis, and discuss the relevance and meaning of the abstract mathematical findings for real-life situations.Comment: 22 pages, 4 figures. Fifth chapter of the book Bilingualism and Minority Languages in Europe: Current trends and developments by F. Lauchlan, M. C. Parafita Couto, ed

    Importance of interlinguistic similarity and stable bilingualism when two languages compete

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    In order to analyze the dynamics of two languages in competition, one approach is to fit historical data on their numbers of speakers with a mathematical model in which the parameters are interpreted as the similarity between those languages and their relative status. Within this approach, we show here, on the basis of a detailed analysis and extensive calculations, the outcomes that can emerge for given values of these parameters. Contrary to previous results, it is possible that in the long term both languages coexist and survive. This happens only when there is a stable bilingual group, and this is possible only if the competing languages are sufficiently similar, in which case its occurrence is favoured by both similarity and status symmetry.Comment: to appear in New Journal of Physic

    Sobre les llengĂĽes del mĂłn

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    La identidad multiplicada: sobre polĂ­ticos, tierras y banderas

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    Parlar per no dir res, o per dir alguna cosa

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    Sobre el poder, fatal, de la llegenda

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    Català: Reflexió sobre l'impacte de l'accés dels Borja al poder pontifici i polític en general, com a origen de la llegenda creada al voltant de la família. English: Reflections on the impact of Borgia's papacy and political enpowerment upon the origin of the black legend constructed around their family. Italiano: Riflessione sull'impatto dell'accesso dei Borgia al potere pontificio e politico in generale come origine della leggenda creata intorno alla famiglia

    Towards a taxonomy of innovation systems

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    The concept of National Innovation System (NIS) has been recently applied in the context of developing nations even tough it was originally developed in relation to the more developed economies (Japan, Scandinavian countries, US etc.). This raises the methodological problem of knowing whether what was learnt in the study of more advanced NISs is relevant for all sorts of economies regardless the maturity of their actual innovation systems. With this question in mind an exploratory exercise is implemented. First a technique for mapping different NIS is put forward and next based on such mapping a taxonomy of NISs is proposed. The technique although simple in the steps it requires shows analytical potential. The cartography it generates allows one to compare directly different countries, by visualizing in bi-dimensional space the graphic pattern of the relevant dimensions of their respective NISs. This technique is applied to 69 countries (87.4% of the world population) and a set of 29 indicators is used to examine these NISs along eight major dimensions. With the resulting data, and with the help of cluster analysis, a taxonomy of innovation systems is proposed. That taxonomy which contains 6 major types of NISs indicates that what differentiates most the individual systems is their performance in three critical dimensions: innovation, diffusion and basic and applied knowledge. Country size and the natural resources endowment of the economies also emerge as important contingency factors underlying the overall dynamics of different NISs.innovation; national innovation systems; economic development.
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