Animesh Mukherjee, Monojit Choudhury, Anupam Basu, and Niloy Ganguly
We study the self-organization of the consonant inventories through a complex network
approach. We observe that the distribution of occurrence as well as cooccurrence of the consonants across languages follow a power-law behavior. The co-occurrence network of consonants exhibits a high clustering coefficient. We propose four novel synthesis models for these networks (each of which is a refinement of the earlier) so as to successively
match with higher accuracy (a) the above mentioned topological properties as well
as (b) the linguistic property of feature economy exhibited by the consonant inventories.
We conclude by arguing that a possible interpretation of this mechanism of network growth is the process of child language acquisition. Such models essentially increase our understanding of the structure of languages that is influenced by their evolutionary dynamics and this, in turn, can be extremely useful for building future NLP applications.
In Proceedings of Coling 2008