The morphospace of language networks

by   Luís F Seoane, et al.

Language can be described as a network of interacting objects with different qualitative properties and complexity. These networks include semantic, syntactic, or phonological levels and have been found to provide a new picture of language complexity and its evolution. A general approach considers language from an information theory perspective that incorporates a speaker, a hearer, and a noisy channel. The later is often encoded in a matrix connecting the signals used for communication with meanings to be found in the real world. Most studies of language evolution deal in a way or another with such theoretical contraption and explore the outcome of diverse forms of selection on the communication matrix that somewhat optimizes communication. This framework naturally introduces networks mediating the communicating agents, but no systematic analysis of the underlying landscape of possible language graphs has been developed. Here we present a detailed analysis of network properties on a generic model of a communication code, which reveals a rather complex and heterogeneous morphospace of language networks. Additionally, we use curated data of English words to locate and evaluate real languages within this language morphospace. Our findings indicate a surprisingly simple structure in human language unless particles are introduced in the vocabulary, with the ability of naming any other concept. These results refine and for the first time complement with empirical data a lasting theoretical tradition around the framework of least effort language.


page 4

page 6

page 8

page 9

page 10


Complex Networks of Words in Fables

In this chapter we give an overview of the application of complex networ...

Emergent Communication for Understanding Human Language Evolution: What's Missing?

Emergent communication protocols among humans and artificial neural netw...

Emergent Multi-Agent Communication in the Deep Learning Era

The ability to cooperate through language is a defining feature of human...

Anti-efficient encoding in emergent communication

Despite renewed interest in emergent language simulations with neural ne...

How agents see things: On visual representations in an emergent language game

There is growing interest in the language developed by agents interactin...

Creolizing the Web

The evolution of language has been a hotly debated subject with contradi...

On the emergence of syntactic structures: quantifying and modelling duality of patterning

The complex organization of syntax in hierarchical structures is one of ...

Please sign up or login with your details

Forgot password? Click here to reset