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Geographical modelling of language decline

Brown, Douglas; Wrathmall, Steven

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Douglas Brown


Competition between languages affects the lives of people all over the globe, and a huge number of languages are at risk of extinction. In this work, statistical physics is applied to modelling the decline of one language in competition with another. A model from the literature is used and adapted to model the interactions among speakers in a population distribution over time, and is applied to historical data for Cornish and Welsh. Visual, geographical models show the simulated decline of the real languages studied, and a number of qualitative and quantitative features from the historical data are captured by the model. The applicability of the model to further real situations is discussed, as well as adaptations that would be needed to better take account of migration and population dynamics.


Brown, D., & Wrathmall, S. (2023). Geographical modelling of language decline. Royal Society Open Science, 10(5),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 2, 2023
Online Publication Date May 24, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date May 25, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 25, 2023
Journal Royal Society Open Science
Electronic ISSN 2054-5703
Publisher The Royal Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 5


Published Journal Article (1.7 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
© 2023 The Authors.<br /> <br /> Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

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