Experiments and Simulations Can Inform Evolutionary Theories of the Cultural Evolution of Language

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

    Abstract

    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Evolution of Social Communication in Primates
    Subtitle of host publicationA Multidisciplinary Approach
    EditorsMarco Pina, Nathalie Gontier
    PublisherSpringer
    Pages249-288
    VolumePart IV
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-02669-5
    ISBN (Print)978-3-319-02668-8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Publication series

    NameInterdisciplinary Evolution Research
    Volume1
    ISSN (Print)2199-3068

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