2015-10-07

Blogpost on the Wave Theory

The wave theory which is usually attributed to Johannes Schmidt (1872) is a strange theoretical construct. Traditional linguists and textbooks mention it quite a lot when discussing the danger of tree thinking in historical linguistics. Nevertheless, so far, nobody really could come up with a convincing way to show how one should visualize the wave theory, and how it could be integrated into a historical framework. It seems that the wave theory is in the end nothing than an early attempt of data-display, similar to a data-display network in the sense of Morrison (2011). I try to justify this view in a new blogpost which I just wrote for David Morrison's blog on "The Genealogical World of Phylogenetic Networks, and which you may find here.