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Exploring phonological areality in the circum-Andean region using a Naive Bayes Classifier


This paper describes the Core and Periphery technique, a quantitative method for exploring areality that uses a naive Bayes classifier, a statistical tool for inferring class membership based on training sets assembled from members of those classes. The Core and Periphery technique is applied to the exploration of phonological areality in the Andes and surrounding lowland regions, based on the South American Phonological Inventory database (SAPhon 1.1.3; Michael, Stark, and Chang 2013). Evidence is found for a phonological area centering on the Andean highlands, and extending to parts of the northern and central Andean foothills regions, the Chaco, and Patagonia. Evidence is also found for Southern and North-Central phonological sub-areas within this larger phonological area.

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