Visualizing Linguistic Relationships of Uto-Aztecan and Bantu Languages Colby Ford2, Ming Xue1, Peter Whiteley1, Ward Wheeler1, Daniel Janies2, Xinghua Shi1

Abstract

Language origins and diversification are crucial for understanding historical relationships among human populations. In this study, we present a novel way of analyzing and visualizing relationships among different language groups. Based on the Swadesh-92 word-list devised by scholars at the Royal Museum for Central Africa, we produced lexical dataset (rendered into LATEX TIPA format) for 93 Bantu and 12 Bantoid language groups in sub-Saharan Africa. Our alphabets comprise 287 distinctive sounds for these languages. The number of sounds was reduced into three clusters by running k-Means Clustering algorithms on the frequency of sounds in the languages. This allowed us to map the different language groups onto 3-dimensional interactive plots, which reveals significant linguistic disparity patterns.

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