from the that's-his-soapposition dept.
Language patterns could be predicted by simple laws of physics, a new study has found.
Dr James Burridge from the University of Portsmouth has published a theory using ideas from physics to predict where and how dialects occur.
He said: "If you want to know where you'll find dialects and why, a lot can be predicted from the physics of bubbles and our tendency to copy others around us.
"Copying causes large dialect regions where one way of speaking dominates. Where dialect regions meet, you get surface tension. Surface tension causes oil and water to separate out into layers, and also causes small bubbles in a bubble bath to merge into bigger ones.
"The bubbles in the bath are like groups of people - they merge into the bigger bubbles because they want to fit in with their neighbours.
"When people speak and listen to each other, they have a tendency to conform to the patterns of speech they hear others using, and therefore align their dialects. Since people typically remain geographically local in their everyday lives, they tend to align with those nearby."
Is proximity the determinant to dialect, or is identity?