Linguistic population structure is described in terms of language families. Geographical distributions of language families respond to climate, latitude, and economic factors. Characteristic shapes of phylogenetic descent trees for language families reflect particular types, rates, directionalities, and chronologies of spread. Languages move in predictable ways in particular geographical, economic, and social contexts. In this chapter, the linguistic prehistories of four continents are surveyed with regard to linguistic spreads, linguistic diversity, and language family origins.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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