Language Gravity Well

A gravity well is a model of the gravitational field surrounding a body in space – the more massive the body, the deeper and more extensive the gravity well associated with it. The Sun is very massive, relative to other bodies in the Solar System, so the corresponding gravity well that surrounds it appears “deep” and far-reaching. The gravity wells of asteroids and small moons, conversely, are often depicted as very shallow. Anything on the surface of a planet or moon is considered to be at the bottom of that celestial body’s gravity well.


Plot of a two-dimensional slice of the gravitational potential in and around a uniform spherical body by AllenMcC. 2008

Could one use the mathematical models that are used to calculate gravity wells to try to reconstruct the emergence of dominant languages? Simulating how planets form by assuming a solar nebular disk model around a star that then merges into larger and larger objects rotating around the star, could one assume a terra language disk model of languages spread out over a continent 15 thousand years ago, that merge into or swallow to larger and larger language families? What other factors are / were at play? Can geography, can barriers be modelled? Does the medium of a savanna, forest or jungle have different gravitational restistance properies? Or the colder the climate the slower the gravitational pull of a large language?

If Jupiter cleared the solar neighbourhood around itself, can a model be made to simulate Indo-European clearing the neighbourhood? We might not be able to identify which languages were “cleared” but we could simulate how many of them there were originally. How many languages were lost?



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