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Physicists tackle linguistics 30 November 2004 Physicists in Germany claim to have developed a new computer model that can describe how human languages evolve over time. Dietrich Stauffer and Christian Schulze of Cologne University have taken techniques used by biologists to describe evolution and applied them to the rise and fall of languages. In particular they find that the size distribution of languages – a measure of the relative popularity of different languages – can be described by a nearly "log-normal" curve (arXiv.org/abs/cond-mat/0411162).