Language exhibits structure: a species-unique system for expressing complex meanings using complex forms. We present a review of modelling and experimental literature on the evolution of structure which suggests that structure is a cultural adaptation in response to pressure for expressivity (arising during communication) and compressibility (arising during learning), and test this hypothesis using a new Bayesian iterated learning model. We conclude that linguistic structure can and should be explained as a consequence of cultural evolution in response to these two pressures.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society|
|Editors||Markus Knauff , Michael Pauen , Natalie Sebanz , Ipke Wachsmuth|
|Place of Publication||Austin, TX|
|Publisher||Cognitive Science Society|
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|
|Event||35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society - Berlin, Germany|
Duration: 31 Jul 2013 → 3 Aug 2013
|Conference||35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society|
|Abbreviated title||CogSci 2013|
|Period||31/07/13 → 3/08/13|
Smith, K., Tamariz, M., & Kirby, S. (2013). Linguistic structure is an evolutionary trade-off between simplicity and expressivity. In M. Knauff , M. Pauen , N. Sebanz , & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1348-1353). Cognitive Science Society.