Scientific article
Open access

The Dynamics of Language Minorities: Evidence from an Agent-Based Model of Language Contact

ContributorsCivico, Marcoorcid
Publication date2019

This article discusses the adoption of a complexity theory approach to study the dynamics of language contact within multilingual communities. It develops an agent-based model that simulates the dynamics of communication within a community where a minority and a majority group coexist. The individual choice of language for communication is based on a number of simple rules derived from a review of the main literature on the topic of language contact. These rules are then combined with different variables, such as the rate of exogamy of the minority group and the presence of relevant education policies, to estimate the trends of assimilation of the minority group into the majority one. The model is validated using actually observed data from the case of Romansh-speakers in the canton of Grisons, Switzerland. The data collected from the simulations are then analysed by means of regression techniques. This paper shows that macro-level language contact dynamics can be explained by relatively simple micro-level behavioural patterns and that intergenerational transmission is crucial for the long-term survival of minority language groups.

  • Language
  • Multilingualism
  • Minority
  • Complexity
  • Agent-Based Modelling
  • Population Dynamics
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - 181554
Citation (ISO format)
CIVICO, Marco. The Dynamics of Language Minorities: Evidence from an Agent-Based Model of Language Contact. In: Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 2019, vol. 22, n° 4, p. 27. doi: 10.18564/jasss.4097
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1460-7425

Technical informations

Creation11/02/2019 11:12:00 AM
First validation11/02/2019 11:12:00 AM
Update time03/15/2023 6:20:47 PM
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