Syntactic Structures and Code Parameters

Kevin Shu, Matilde Marcolli

We assign binary and ternary error-correcting codes to the data of syntactic structures of world languages and we study the distribution of code points in the space of code parameters. We show that, while most codes populate the lower region approximating a superposition of Thomae functions, there is a substantial presence of codes above the Gilbert-Varshamov bound and even above the asymptotic bound and the Plotkin bound. We investigate the dynamics induced on the space of code parameters by spin glass models of language change, and show that, in the presence of entailment relations between syntactic parameters the dynamics can sometimes improve the code. For large sets of languages and syntactic data, one can gain information on the spin glass dynamics from the induced dynamics in the space of code parameters.

Knowledge Graph



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