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Linguistic diversity is highly uneven in the world. Both in terms of languages and in terms of their structural features (properties of grammars), some world regions show strikingly higher diversity than other regions. One of the most puzzling differences is seen between Eurasia and the (pre-colonial) Americas. Eurasia shows large areas of relative structural homogeneity, with few but geographically far-flung language families, while the Americas reveal a rich patchwork of heterogeneity at varying scales and an abundance of small-scale families and isolates. How did the differences between Eurasia and the Americas arise, given their shared origins and connections?
Building on the previous Sinergia project LiMiTS, our Out of Asia project will provide new insights on the linguistic and human past of the Americas and Eurasia using an interdisciplinary approach based on (i) linguistic phylogenies, (ii) analyses of contact zones based on fine-grained typological data, (iii) genomic data of humans and domesticated plants and animals, and (iv) simulations.