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glottochronology

[glot-oh-kruh-nol-uh-jee, glot-uh-]
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noun Linguistics.
  1. the branch of lexicostatistics that studies the rate of replacement of vocabulary and attempts to determine what percentage of basic vocabulary two presently distinct but related languages share, using the information thus obtained to estimate how long ago they ceased being a single language.
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Origin of glottochronology

First recorded in 1950–55; glotto- + chronology
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for glottochronology

glottochronology

noun
  1. the use of lexicostatistics to establish that languages are historically related
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Word Origin

C20 glotto-, from Greek glōtta tongue
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for glottochronology

n.

1953, from glotto- + chronology.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper