Sampling for variety

  • 1 Yleinen kielitiede, PL 24, 00014 Helsingin yliopisto, Finland
  • 2 Capaciteitsgroep Taalwetenschap, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Spuistraat 134, 1012 VB Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 3 Department of Linguistics, 2-40 Assiniboia Hall, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E7
Matti Miestamo, Dik Bakker and Antti Arppe


Variety sampling aims at capturing as much of the world’s linguistic variety as possible. The article discusses and compares two sampling methods designed for variety sampling: the Diversity Value method, in which sample languages are picked according to the diversity found in family trees, and the Genus-Macroarea method, in which genealogical stratification is primarily based on genera and areal stratification pays attention to the proportional representation of the genealogical diversity of macroareas. The pros and cons of the methods are discussed, some additional features are introduced to the Genus-Macroarea method, and the ability of both methods to capture crosslinguistic variety is tested with computerized simulations drawing on data in The world atlas of language structures database.

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Linguistic Typology publishes research on linguistic diversity and unity. It welcomes articles that report empirical findings about crosslinguistic variation, advance our understanding of the patterns of diversity, or refine typological methodology.