Language is a complex adaptive system supported by humans. With evidence and illustrative examples from recent computer simulation and experimental work, this chapter defends that much linguistic structure can be explained as emergent phenomena. Cultural proc-esses such as social transmission to new generations or the patterns of speaker interaction, operating in large populations over many generations give rise to structure at different levels, from categories of phonemes to compositional structure. This position shifts the bur-den of explanation of linguistic structure from a biologically evolved mental organ to more tractable cultural processes, which are being investigated with a host of innovative empirical methods.
|Title of host publication||The Evolution of Social Communication in Primates|
|Subtitle of host publication||A Multidisciplinary Approach|
|Editors||Marco Pina, Nathalie Gontier|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
|Name||Interdisciplinary Evolution Research|