Bootstrap co-occurrence networks of consonants and the Basic Consonant Inventory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has been recently shown by Nikolaev and Grossman that it is possible to provide a fine-grained typological analysis of consonant inventories of the world’s languages by investigating co-occurrence classes of segments, i.e. groups of segments that tend to be found together in inventories. Nikolaev and Grossman argued that the structure of many of such co-occurrence classes is in contradiction with the Feature-Economy Principle. As a side product of this analysis, a new definition of the Basic Consonant Inventory (BCI)—a cluster of segments forming the bedrock of consonantal inventories of the world’s languages—was provided. This paper replicates the co-occurrence study in an arguably more robust way. In addition to making a methodological contribution, it shows that some of the co-occurrence classes defined by Nikolaev and Grossman, including the BCI, are not statistically stable and may be an artefact of the imbalance in the language sample used for the analysis. The findings of the authors regarding the Feature-Economy Principle, however, were corroborated.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLinguistic Typology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Bootstrap co-occurrence networks of consonants and the Basic Consonant Inventory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this