A parametric approach to language history

The Parametric Comparison Method – PCM is a research line which combines the goal of reconstructing language history, pursued since the rise of the classical comparative method in the 19th century, with the analytical tools of formal grammar and cognitive science developed in the last part of the 20th century. Since its beginning the basic hypothesis of the PCM is that, contrary to most claims over the past two centuries, syntactic diversity encodes language history to a remarkable extent. Thus, the PCM explores the possibility of historical classification of languages using generative syntactic parameters as comparanda alongside and beyond word etymologies.

Language and Gene Lineages (LanGeLin) is the European Research Council-funded research project 'Meeting Darwin's last challenge: toward a global tree of human languages and genes' coordinated by Professor Giuseppe Longobardi, PI, from 2012 to 2018.

The project addresses one question, formulated by Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species, namely whether the cultural transmission and differentiation of languages over the period of human history matches the biological transmission and differentiation of the genetic characters which define the populations of the world.

Professor Giuseppe Longobardi

Visit the project web page