I think some of you may find this article interesting : http://arxivblog.com/?p=654
Vai is a language spoken by 150,000 people in western Africa, specifically in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The language is noteworthy because its uses a remarkable system of sounds. Speakers must be able to pronounce seven oral vowels, five nasal vowels and 31 consonants all of which come in various combinations. In its written form, Vai has 229 characters.
So perhaps it wouldn’t be surprising if Vai had some interesting statistical characteristics not shared by other languages. If so, that might give some insight into the language’s unique history and evolution. This week, Charles Riley at Yale University and a few pals make exactly that claim.