SELF-SIMILARITY IN THE TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION OF HUMAN LANGUAGES
Damian H. Zanette ()
Additional contact information Damian H. Zanette: Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Centro Atómico Bariloche and Instituto Balseiro, 8400 Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina
Statistical properties of the taxonomic classification of human languages are studied. It is shown that, at the highest levels of the taxonomic hierarchy, the frequency of taxon members as a function of the number of languages belonging to each member decays as a power law. This feature reveals that a self-similar structure underlies the taxonomy of languages, exactly as observed in the taxonomic classification of biological species. Such an analogy is a clue to the evolutionary foundation of language classification based on long-range comparison.