From UG to Universals: Linguistic adaptation through iterated learning

Simon Kirby, Kenny Smith, Henry Brighton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

What constitutes linguistic evidence for Universal Grammar (UG)? The principal approach to this question equates UG on the one hand with language universals on the other. Parsimonious and general characterizations of linguistic variation are assumed to uncover features of UG. This paper reviews a recently developed evolutionary approach to language that casts doubt on this assumption: the Iterated Learning Model (ILM). We treat UG as a model of our prior learning bias, and consider how languages may adapt in response to this bias. By dealing directly with populations of linguistic agents, the ILM allows us to study the adaptive landscape that particular learning biases result in. The key result from this work is that the relationship between UG and language structure is non-trivial.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-607
Number of pages21
JournalStudies in language
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

grammar
linguistics
learning
language
trend
evidence

Cite this

@article{a167ce0c4986452080b61ccf7197073e,
title = "From UG to Universals: Linguistic adaptation through iterated learning",
abstract = "What constitutes linguistic evidence for Universal Grammar (UG)? The principal approach to this question equates UG on the one hand with language universals on the other. Parsimonious and general characterizations of linguistic variation are assumed to uncover features of UG. This paper reviews a recently developed evolutionary approach to language that casts doubt on this assumption: the Iterated Learning Model (ILM). We treat UG as a model of our prior learning bias, and consider how languages may adapt in response to this bias. By dealing directly with populations of linguistic agents, the ILM allows us to study the adaptive landscape that particular learning biases result in. The key result from this work is that the relationship between UG and language structure is non-trivial.",
author = "Simon Kirby and Kenny Smith and Henry Brighton",
year = "2004",
doi = "10.1075/sl.28.3.09kir",
language = "English",
pages = "587--607",
journal = "Studies in language",
issn = "0378-4177",
publisher = "JOHN BENJAMINS B V PUBL",

}

From UG to Universals : Linguistic adaptation through iterated learning. / Kirby, Simon; Smith, Kenny; Brighton, Henry.

In: Studies in language, 2004, p. 587-607.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - From UG to Universals

T2 - Linguistic adaptation through iterated learning

AU - Kirby, Simon

AU - Smith, Kenny

AU - Brighton, Henry

PY - 2004

Y1 - 2004

N2 - What constitutes linguistic evidence for Universal Grammar (UG)? The principal approach to this question equates UG on the one hand with language universals on the other. Parsimonious and general characterizations of linguistic variation are assumed to uncover features of UG. This paper reviews a recently developed evolutionary approach to language that casts doubt on this assumption: the Iterated Learning Model (ILM). We treat UG as a model of our prior learning bias, and consider how languages may adapt in response to this bias. By dealing directly with populations of linguistic agents, the ILM allows us to study the adaptive landscape that particular learning biases result in. The key result from this work is that the relationship between UG and language structure is non-trivial.

AB - What constitutes linguistic evidence for Universal Grammar (UG)? The principal approach to this question equates UG on the one hand with language universals on the other. Parsimonious and general characterizations of linguistic variation are assumed to uncover features of UG. This paper reviews a recently developed evolutionary approach to language that casts doubt on this assumption: the Iterated Learning Model (ILM). We treat UG as a model of our prior learning bias, and consider how languages may adapt in response to this bias. By dealing directly with populations of linguistic agents, the ILM allows us to study the adaptive landscape that particular learning biases result in. The key result from this work is that the relationship between UG and language structure is non-trivial.

U2 - 10.1075/sl.28.3.09kir

DO - 10.1075/sl.28.3.09kir

M3 - Article

SP - 587

EP - 607

JO - Studies in language

JF - Studies in language

SN - 0378-4177

ER -