Social structure and lexical uniformity: a case study of gender differences in the Kata Kolok community

Katie Mudd, Hannah Lutzenberger, Connie de Vos, Bart de Boer

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperOther research output

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Language emergence is characterized by a high degree of lexical variation. It has been suggested that the speed at which lexical conventionalization occurs depends partially on social structure. In large communities, individuals receive input from many sources, creating a pressure for lexical convergence. In small, insular communities, individuals can remember idiolects and share common ground with interlocuters, allowing these communities to retain a high degree of lexical variation. We look at lexical variation in Kata Kolok, a sign language which emerged six generations ago in a Balinese village, where women tend to have more tightly-knit social networks than men. We test if there are differing degrees of lexical uniformity between women and men by reanalyzing a picture description task in Kata Kolok. We find that women’s productions exhibit less lexical uniformity than men’s. One possible explanation of this finding is that women’s more tightly-knit social networks allow for remembering idiolects, alleviating the pressure for lexical convergence, but social network data from the Kata Kolok community is needed to support this explanation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages2692-2698
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Comparative Cognition: Animal Minds, CogSci 2021 - Virtual, Online, Austria
Duration: 26 Jul 202129 Jul 2021

Conference

Conference43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Comparative Cognition: Animal Minds, CogSci 2021
Country/TerritoryAustria
CityVirtual, Online
Period26/07/2129/07/21

Keywords

  • Input Variability
  • Kata Kolok
  • Language Emergence
  • Lexical Uniformity
  • Sign Language
  • Social Structure

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