Hysteresis in Language Emergence and Evolution

Onderzoeksoutput: Conference paper


A system is said to show hysteresis when its evolution depends on its history. Language is such a system. One of the consequences of this is that when a system changes in one direction, it may end up in a different state than when it changes in the other direction (all else being equal). The relevance of this for language evolution and emergence is that newly emerged languages tend to have different properties (e.g. variability, iconicity) than more established languages, even if the social properties (group size, network structure) of these languages are similar. Current models that have been proposed to explain the link between properties of a population and properties of the language of that population do not explicitly take hysteresis into account. This paper proposes a very basic and abstract model, based on statistical physics and maximum entropy, that has hysteresis. The model has two parameters, one of which is related to the mean value of the linguistic property in the population, and the other appears to represent that there exist different strategies (e.g. iconic versus conventional communication) to achieve the goal of language (e.g. communication, learnability) and that a language needs to compromise between these. However, the precise interpretation of this parameter in terms of cognitive and social factors is still an open problem, as is the question of how empirically testable hypotheses can be derived from this model. Nevertheless, it is hoped that this work can draw attention to the importance of hysteresis in the emergence and evolution of language.
Originele taal-2English
TitelThe Evolution of Language Proceedings of the Joint Conference on Language Evolution (JCoLE)
RedacteurenAndrea Ravignani, Rie Asano, Daria Valente, Francesco Ferretti, Stefan Hartmann, Misato Hayashi, Yannick Jadoul, Mauricio Martins, Yohei Oseki, Evelina Daniela Rodrigues, Olga Vasileva, Sławomir Wacewicz
UitgeverijJoint Conference on Language Evolution
Aantal pagina's3
ISBN van geprinte versie2666-917X
StatusPublished - 2022
EvenementJoint Conference on Language Evolution - Kanazawa, Japan
Duur: 5 sep 20228 sep 2022
Congresnummer: 2022


ConferenceJoint Conference on Language Evolution
Verkorte titelJCoLE
Internet adres


Duik in de onderzoeksthema's van 'Hysteresis in Language Emergence and Evolution'. Samen vormen ze een unieke vingerafdruk.

Citeer dit