Computational approach to the emergence and evolution of language - evolutionary naming game model

Adam Lipowski, Dorota Lipowska

Computational modelling with multi-agent systems is becoming an important technique of studying language evolution. We present a brief introduction into this rapidly developing field, as well as our own contributions that include an analysis of the evolutionary naming-game model. In this model communicating agents, that try to establish a common vocabulary, are equipped with an evolutionarily selected learning ability. Such a coupling of biological and linguistic ingredients results in an abrupt transition: upon a small change of the model control parameter a poorly communicating group of linguistically unskilled agents transforms into almost perfectly communicating group with large learning abilities. Genetic imprinting of the learning abilities proceeds via Baldwin effect: initially unskilled communicating agents learn a language and that creates a niche in which there is an evolutionary pressure for the increase of learning ability. Under the assumption that communication intensity increases continuously with finite speed, the transition is split into several transition-like changes. It shows that the speed of cultural changes, that sets an additional characteristic timescale, might be yet another factor affecting the evolution of language. In our opinion, this model shows that linguistic and biological processes have a strong influence on each other and this effect certainly has contributed to an explosive development of our species.

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