Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

On quantitative geolinguistics: an illustration from Galician dialectology

Francisco Dubert, Xulio Sousa


The essential objective of dialectology, and especially geolinguistics, is the study of spatial linguistic variation, special relevance being given to the presentation of results through cartographic representations. The methods of geolinguistic data analysis focused for a long period on the description and evaluation of phenomena conventionally regarded as particularly relevant, either in isolated or in group cases, and the latter only when the discovery of the existence of limits between varieties was straightforward. The application of quantitative methods to geolinguistic studies began at the start of the 1970s and experienced a spectacular impulse over the last two decades. The development of new computer-based tools and the recognition that dialectal variation could not be reduced to simple characterizations encouraged researchers to employ new research methods, with which it was possible to understand in greater detail the patterns which function in geolinguistic variation. This present study seeks to provide an overview of the principal analytical techniques and representation of geolinguistic information developed during in recent years. Moreover, it intends to demonstrate, on the basis of some examples of application, the interest of these new methodologies and their usefulness for a better understanding of the spatial variety of languages.

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