• While analysing lexical data of Western Kho-Bwa languages of the Sino-Tibetan or Trans-
    Himalayan family with the help of a computer-assisted approach for historical language
    comparison, we observed gaps in the data where one or more varieties lacked forms for certain
    concepts. We employed a new workflow, combining manual and automated steps, to predict the
    most likely phonetic realisations of the missing forms in our data, by making systematic use of
    the information on sound correspondences in words that were potentially cognate with the
    missing forms. This procedure yielded a list of hypothetical reflexes of previously identified
    cognate sets, which we first preregistered as an experiment on the prediction of unattested word
    forms and then compared with actual word forms elicited during secondary fieldwork. In this
    study we first describe the workflow which we used to predict hypothetical reflexes and the
    process of elicitation of actual word forms during field work. We then present the results of our
    reflex prediction experiment. Based on the experience we made during this experiment, we
    identify four general benefits of reflex prediction in historical language comparison. These
    comprise (1) an increased transparency of linguistic research, (2) an increased efficiency of field
    and source work, (3) an educational aspect which offers teachers and learners a wide plethora of
    linguistic phenomena, including the regularity of sound change, and (4) the possibility to kindle
    speakers’ interest in their own linguistic heritage.