Multi-Level Selection in the Emergence of Language Systematicity

Luc Steels, Remi Van Trijp, Pieter Wellens

Onderzoeksoutput: Conference paper

8 Citaten (Scopus)


Language can be viewed as a complex adaptive system which
is continuously shaped and reshaped by the actions of its users as they try
to solve communicative problems. To maintain coherence in the overall
system, different language elements (sounds, words, grammatical con-
structions) compete with each other for global acceptance. This paper
examines what happens when a language system uses systematic struc-
ture, in the sense that certain meaning-form conventions are themselves
parts of larger units. We argue that in this case multi-level selection
occurs: at the level of elements (e.g. tense affixes) and at the level of
larger units in which these elements are used (e.g. phrases). Achiev-
ing and maintaining linguistic coherence in the population under these
conditions is non-trivial. This paper shows that it is nevertheless pos-
sible when agents take multiple levels into account both for processing
meaning-form associations and for consolidating the language inventory
after each interaction.
Originele taal-2English
TitelEuropean Conference on Artificial Life
Aantal pagina's10
StatusPublished - 2007
EvenementUnknown - Stockholm, Sweden
Duur: 21 sep 200925 sep 2009

Publicatie series





Duik in de onderzoeksthema's van 'Multi-Level Selection in the Emergence of Language Systematicity'. Samen vormen ze een unieke vingerafdruk.

Citeer dit