Where did the first Bantu speakers live? How did they spread in space and time? Have changes in habitat affected their expansion? These are just some of the questions addressed with phylogeographic inference. Phylogeography promises to integrate linguistic and geographic information for a detailed reconstruction of language dispersals over thousands over thousands of years. Part of our research is concerned with this ambitious endeavor.
Languages may spread through migration of the speakers or through contact to other societies. Furthermore, migrations can have a variety of causes and consequently show a variety of patterns. We are investigating how phylogeographic reconstructions perform under different migration or diffusion scenarios using simulations and compare the results to real examples of language families.