Open Access Preprint
Final Published Version
We use two coupled equations to analyze the space-time dynamics of two interacting languages. Firstly, we introduce a cohabitation model, which is more appropriate for human populations than classical (non-cohabitation) models. Secondly, using numerical simulations we nd the front speed of a new language spreading into a region where another language was previously used. Thirdly, for a special case we derive an analytical formula that makes it possible to check the validity of our numerical simulations. Finally, as an example, we nd that the observed front speed for the spread of the English language into Wales in the period 1961-1981 is consistent with the model predictions. We also nd that the e¤ects of linguistic parameters are much more important than those of parameters related to population dispersal and reproduction. If the initial population densities of both languages are similar, they have no e¤ect on the front speed. We outline the potential of the new model to analyze relationships between language replacement and genetic replacement.
Open access pre-print, subsequently published as Fort, J. and Pérez-Losada, J. (2012). "Front Speed of Language Replacement," Human Biology 84(6). http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol84/iss6/6