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Computers being used to reconstruct ancient languages

Researchers have developed new computer software that is able to rebuild ancient protolanguages.

Currently language reconstructions are carried out by linguists – but the process is slow and labour-intensive.

Dan Klein, an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said: “It’s very time consuming for humans to look at all the data. There are thousands of languages in the world, with thousands of words each, not to mention all of those languages’ ancestors.

“It would take hundreds of lifetimes to pore over all those languages, cross-referencing all the different changes that happened across such an expanse of space – and of time. But this is where computers shine.”

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Story: Rebecca Morelle, BBC News | Photo: BBC News

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