Iterated Teaching Can Optimize Language Functionality

Vera Kempe, Kamil Cichon, Nicolas Gauvrit, Monica Tamariz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Experimental studies of the cultural evolution of language have focused on how constraints on learning and communication drive emergence of linguistic structure. Yet language is typically transmitted by experts who adjust the input in ways that facilitates learning by novices, e.g. through child-directed speech. Using iterated language learning of binary auditory sequences, we explored how language change is affected by experts’ intention to teach the language to novices. Comparison between teaching chains and simple transmission chains revealed that teaching led to a greater rate of innovation which drove the emergence of more expressive languages consisting of shorter signals. This is the first study to show that during cultural transmission, teaching can modify, and potentially optimize, functional characteristics of language.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 39th Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
StateAccepted/In press - 11 Apr 2017
Event39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society 2017 - London, United Kingdom

Conference

Conference39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society 2017
Abbreviated titleCogSci 2017
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period26/07/1729/07/17

Fingerprint

language
Teaching
teaching
learning
Learning
emergence
language change
drive
functionality
intention
speech
input
innovation
linguistics
constraint
evolution
comparison
structure
child
Cultural Evolution

Keywords

  • Teaching
  • iterated language learning
  • cultural transmission
  • algorithmic complexity
  • compositional structure
  • combinatorial structure

Cite this

Kempe, V., Cichon, K., Gauvrit, N., & Tamariz, M. (2017). Iterated Teaching Can Optimize Language Functionality. In Proceedings of the 39th Conference of the Cognitive Science Society

Kempe, Vera; Cichon, Kamil; Gauvrit, Nicolas; Tamariz, Monica / Iterated Teaching Can Optimize Language Functionality.

Proceedings of the 39th Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. 2017.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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author = "Vera Kempe and Kamil Cichon and Nicolas Gauvrit and Monica Tamariz",
year = "2017",
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booktitle = "Proceedings of the 39th Conference of the Cognitive Science Society",

}

Kempe, V, Cichon, K, Gauvrit, N & Tamariz, M 2017, Iterated Teaching Can Optimize Language Functionality. in Proceedings of the 39th Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society 2017, London, United Kingdom, 26-29 July.

Iterated Teaching Can Optimize Language Functionality. / Kempe, Vera; Cichon, Kamil; Gauvrit, Nicolas; Tamariz, Monica.

Proceedings of the 39th Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. 2017.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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AB - Experimental studies of the cultural evolution of language have focused on how constraints on learning and communication drive emergence of linguistic structure. Yet language is typically transmitted by experts who adjust the input in ways that facilitates learning by novices, e.g. through child-directed speech. Using iterated language learning of binary auditory sequences, we explored how language change is affected by experts’ intention to teach the language to novices. Comparison between teaching chains and simple transmission chains revealed that teaching led to a greater rate of innovation which drove the emergence of more expressive languages consisting of shorter signals. This is the first study to show that during cultural transmission, teaching can modify, and potentially optimize, functional characteristics of language.

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M3 - Conference contribution

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Kempe V, Cichon K, Gauvrit N, Tamariz M. Iterated Teaching Can Optimize Language Functionality. In Proceedings of the 39th Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. 2017.