FIGURE 1. The glossogenetic tree of Indo-European language.

From the following article:

Linguistics: An invisible hand

W. Tecumseh Fitch

Nature 449, 665-667(11 October 2007)

doi:10.1038/449665a

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The words of language are not inherited biologically, but are passed on culturally through learning. This process of 'cultural evolution' generates a hierarchical tree of relationships among languages, here illustrated by the Indo-European family. Just as descent with modification in biological evolution (phylogeny) leads to phylogenetic trees, so the analogous process in language change (glossogeny) can lead to glossogenetic trees.

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