Quantifying the quantitative (re-)turn in historical linguistics
Historical linguistics is the study of language change and stability, of the history of individual languages, and of the relatedness between languages. In spite of numerous acknowledgements, the adoption of quantitative methods in historical linguistics is still far from being mainstream and it falls below the level of other branches of linguistics. This comment considers the adoption of quantitative methods in recent historical linguistics research, and compares a study on 2012 publications with a similar study conducted seven years later. This comment argues for the advantages of a wider adoption of quantitative methods among historical linguists, and considers various reasons for the relatively slow progress in this direction. It also clarifies when quantitative methods are not the preferred route.