New patterns in human biogeography revealed by networks of contacts between linguistic groups

Capitán Gómez, José Ángel and Axelsen, Jakob Bock and Manrubia, Susanna (2015). New patterns in human biogeography revealed by networks of contacts between linguistic groups. "Proceedings - Royal Society. Biological sciences", v. 282 (n. 1802); ISSN 0962-8452. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.2947.

Description

Title: New patterns in human biogeography revealed by networks of contacts between linguistic groups
Author/s:
  • Capitán Gómez, José Ángel
  • Axelsen, Jakob Bock
  • Manrubia, Susanna
Item Type: Article
Título de Revista/Publicación: Proceedings - Royal Society. Biological sciences
Date: 2015
ISSN: 0962-8452
Volume: 282
Subjects:
Freetext Keywords: Spatial networks, Food-web structure, Interval graphs, Species ranges, Niche dimension
Faculty: E.T.S. de Edificación (UPM)
Department: Matemática Aplicada
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

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Abstract

Human languages differ broadly in abundance and are distributed highly unevenly on the Earth. In many qualitative and quantitative aspects, they strongly resemble biodiversity distributions. An intriguing and previously unexplored issue is the architecture of the neighbouring relationships between human linguistic groups. Here we construct and characterize these networks of contacts and show that they represent a new kind of spatial network with uncommon structural properties. Remarkably, language networks share a meaningful property with food webs: both are quasi-interval graphs. In food webs, intervality is linked to the existence of a niche space of low dimensionality; in language networks, we show that the unique relevant variable is the area occupied by the speakers of a language. By means of a range model analogous to niche models in ecology, we show that a geometric restriction of perimeter covering by neighbouring linguistic domains explains the structural patterns observed. Our findings may be of interest in the development of models for language dynamics or regarding the propagation of cultural innovations. In relation to species distribution, they pose the question of whether the spatial features of species ranges share architecture, and eventually generating mechanism, with the distribution of human linguistic groups.

Funding Projects

TypeCodeAcronymLeaderTitle
Madrid Regional GovernmentS2009/ESP-1691MODELICOUnspecifiedModelización y simulación de sistemas complejos
Government of SpainFIS2011-22449UnspecifiedUnspecifiedProcesos dinámicos evolutivos: virus, ecosistemas y comportamientos sociales
Government of SpainFIS2011-27569UnspecifiedUnspecifiedUnspecified

More information

Item ID: 45029
DC Identifier: http://oa.upm.es/45029/
OAI Identifier: oai:oa.upm.es:45029
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.2947
Official URL: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/282/1802/20142947
Deposited by: Memoria Investigacion
Deposited on: 15 Mar 2017 15:38
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2019 15:37
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