A Replicated Typo 2.0

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124 posts · 164,358 views

A blog (mostly) dedicated to language, its evolution and anything else in-between.

Wintz
30 posts

Sean Roberts
67 posts

Hannah Little
0 posts

Michael
10 posts

Kevin
1 post

Stefan Hartmann
0 posts

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  • December 2, 2014
  • 07:37 AM
  • 601 views

Languages adapt to their contextual niche (Winters, Kirby & Smith, 2014)

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Last week saw the publication of my latest paper, with co-authors Simon Kirby and Kenny Smith, looking at how languages adapt to their contextual niche (link to the OA version and here’s the original). Here’s the abstract: It is well established that context plays a fundamental role in how we learn and use language. Here […]... Read more »

  • June 24, 2014
  • 10:03 AM
  • 642 views

Syntax came before phonology?

by Hannah Little in A Replicated Typo 2.0

A new paper has just appeared in the proceedings of the royal society B entitled, “Language evolution: syntax before phonology?” by Collier et al. The abstract is here: Phonology and syntax represent two layers of sound combination central to language’s expressive power. Comparative animal studies represent one approach to understand the origins of these combinatorial layers. […]... Read more »

Collier, K., Bickel, B., van Schaik, C., Manser, M., & Townsend, S. (2014) Language evolution: syntax before phonology?. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281(1788), 20140263-20140263. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0263  

  • April 28, 2014
  • 10:24 AM
  • 941 views

The Mystery of Language Evolution

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Hauser, et al. have a co-authored article on The Mystery of Language Evolution. It’s a review of current directions in the field with the basic message that we don’t yet understand enough for empirical evidence from animal studies, archaeology, palaeontology, genetics or modelling to inform theories of language evolution. Here I summarise the paper and offer some criticisms.... Read more »

Marc D. Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert C. Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky, & Richard Lewontin. (2014) The mystery of language evolution. Frontiers in Psychology. info:/

  • February 8, 2014
  • 07:40 AM
  • 930 views

Retiring Procrustean Linguistics

by James Winters in A Replicated Typo 2.0

One example of where Procrustean Linguistics has seemingly led us astray is in the pervasive notion that ambiguity is dysfunctional for communication. Ambiguity exists at many layers of language. You have lexical ambiguity, syntactic ambiguity, scope ambiguity and many other types (see here). Broadly conceived, then, ambiguity corresponds to any state in which a linguistic code contains forms that are conventionally associated with more than one meaning (Hoefler, 2009). Why is ambiguity consider........ Read more »

Piantadosi ST, Tily H, & Gibson E. (2012) The communicative function of ambiguity in language. Cognition, 122(3), 280-91. PMID: 22192697  

  • September 30, 2013
  • 04:17 AM
  • 647 views

On the entangled banks of representations (pt.1)

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Lately, I took time out to read through a few papers I’d put on the backburner until after my first year review was completed. Now that’s out of the way, I found myself looking through Berwick et al.‘s review on Evolution, brain, and the nature of language. Much of it is written in strongly worded language and read more...... Read more »

Wilson AD, & Golonka S. (2013) Embodied Cognition is Not What you Think it is. Frontiers in psychology, 58. PMID: 23408669  

  • August 15, 2013
  • 03:16 AM
  • 896 views

Uncovering spurious correlations between language and culture

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

James and I have a new paper out in PLOS ONE where we demonstrate a whole host of unexpected correlations between cultural features. These include acacia trees and linguistic tone, morphology and siestas, and traffic accidents and linguistic diversity. We hope it will be a touchstone for discussing the problems with analysing cross-cultural statistics, and read more...... Read more »

Sean Roberts, & James Winters. (2013) Linguistic Diversity and Traffic Accidents: Lessons from Statistical Studies of Cultural Traits . PLOS ONE, 8(8). info:/doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070902

  • May 2, 2013
  • 03:29 PM
  • 1,264 views

Gender, language and economic power: another spurious correlation

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

A recent paper finds a correlation between speaking a language with grammatical gender distinctions and the economic empowerment of women. Is this another case of a spurious correlation caused by historical accident?... Read more »

Victor Gay, Estefania Santacreu-Vasut and Amir Shoham. (2013) The Grammatical Origins of Gender Roles. Berkeley Economic History Laboratory (BEHL) Working Papers. info:/

  • February 25, 2013
  • 03:00 PM
  • 1,711 views

Whorfian economics reconsidered: Why future tense?

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Keith Chen has found a link between people's economic decisions and whether their language has a future tense. But are there other linguistic variables that are even better at predicting economic decisions?... Read more »

Sean Roberts, & James Winters. (2012) Social Structure and Language Structure: the New Nomothetic Approach. Psycology of Language Learning, 16(2), 89-112. info:/10.2478/v10057-012-0008-6

  • November 14, 2012
  • 07:45 AM
  • 726 views

Is ambiguity dysfunctional for communicatively efficient systems?

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Based on yesterday’s post, where I argued degeneracy emerges as a design solution for ambiguity pressures, a Reddit commentator pointed me to a cool paper by Piantadosi et al (2012) that contained the following quote: The natural approach has always been: Is [language] well designed for use, understood typically as use for communication? I think [...]... Read more »

  • November 13, 2012
  • 04:21 PM
  • 1,337 views

Chocolate Consumption, Traffic Accidents and Serial Killers

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Last month there was a paper published about a correlation between chocolate consumption and Nobel Laureates. EDIT: I now see the article may not be accessible to everyone.  Here’s a summary: Messerli suggests that, because some flavinoids that are found in chocolate have been linked to improved cognition, one might expect a country that eats [...]... Read more »

  • November 13, 2012
  • 07:22 AM
  • 1,088 views

Degeneracy emerges as a design feature in response to ambiguity pressures

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Two weeks ago my supervisor, Simon Kirby, gave a talk on some of the work that’s been going on in the LEC. Much of his talk focused on one of the key areas in language evolution research: the emergence of the basic design features that underpin language as a system of communication. He gave several [...]... Read more »

Edelman, G., & Gally, J. (2001) Degeneracy and complexity in biological systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98(24), 13763-13768. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.231499798  

Ay, N., Flack, J., & Krakauer, D. (2007) Robustness and complexity co-constructed in multimodal signalling networks. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 362(1479), 441-447. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2006.1971  

Eduardo G. Altmann, Janet B. Pierrehumbert, & Adilson E. Motter. (2010) Niche as a determinant of word fate in online groups. PLoS ONE 6(5), e19009 (2011). arXiv: 1009.3321v2

  • November 8, 2012
  • 11:34 AM
  • 805 views

Arguments against a “prometheus” scenario

by Hannah Little in A Replicated Typo 2.0

The Biological Origin of Linguistic Diversity: From some of the minds that brought you  Chater et al. (2009) comes a new and exciting paper in PlosONE. Chater et al. (2009) used a computational model to show that biological adaptations for language are impossible because language changes too rapidly through cultural evolution for natural selection to [...]... Read more »

Baronchelli A, Chater N, Pastor-Satorras R, & Christiansen MH. (2012) The biological origin of linguistic diversity. PloS one, 7(10). PMID: 23118922  

  • October 31, 2012
  • 06:54 AM
  • 1,693 views

Taking the “icon” out of Emoticon

by Hannah Little in A Replicated Typo 2.0

For some years now Simon Garrod and Nicolas Fay, among others, have been looking at the emergence of symbolic graphical symbols out of iconic ones using communication experiments which simulate repeated use of a symbol. Garrod et al. (2007) use a ‘pictionary’ style paradigm where participants are to graphically depict one of 16 concepts without using [...]... Read more »

  • October 3, 2012
  • 05:49 PM
  • 1,019 views

Niche as a determinant of word fate in online groups (featuring @hanachronism and @richlitt)

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Last year Altmann, Pierrehumbert & Motter (henceforth, APM) released a great paper in PLoS One: Niche as a determinant of word fate in online groups. Having referenced the paper extensively in my non-bloggy academic world, I thought it was about time I mentioned it on a Replicated Typo. Below is the abstract: Patterns of word [...]... Read more »

Altmann EG, Pierrehumbert JB, & Motter AE. (2011) Niche as a determinant of word fate in online groups. PloS one, 6(5). PMID: 21589910  

  • October 3, 2012
  • 02:00 PM
  • 1,104 views

Niche as a determinant of word fate in online groups (featuring @hanachronism and @richlitt)

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Last year Altmann, Pierrehumbert & Motter (henceforth, APM) released a great paper in PLoS One: Niche as a determinant of word fate in online groups. Having referenced the paper extensively in my non-bloggy academic world, I thought it was about time I mentioned it on a Replicated Typo.... Read more »

Altmann EG, Pierrehumbert JB, & Motter AE. (2011) Niche as a determinant of word fate in online groups. PloS one, 6(5). PMID: 21589910  

  • June 5, 2012
  • 08:51 AM
  • 1,800 views

Evolve a Band Name!

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Me and my band are looking for a new name. It's a tough decision: we need one that's clear and catchy. If only there was a process that took some names and made them more easily learnable. Wait, what about Iterated Learning? Click here to participate in our Band Name experiment. It takes about two minutes.... Read more »

  • May 11, 2012
  • 11:43 AM
  • 1,137 views

Having more children affects your basic word order

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

The basic word order of your langauge (SOV or SVO) predicts the number of children you have.... Read more »

Sean Roberts, & James Winters. (2012) Constructing Knowledge: Nomothetic approaches to language evolution. Five Approaches to Language Evolution: Proceedings of the Workshops of the 9th International Conference on the Evolution of Language. info:/

Gell-Mann, M., & Ruhlen, M. (2011) The origin and evolution of word order. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(42), 17290-17295. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1113716108  

  • May 1, 2012
  • 01:45 PM
  • 2,053 views

Visualising language similarities without trees

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Gerhard Jäger uses lexostatistics to demonstrate that language similarities can be computed without using tree-based representations. On the way, he automatically derives a tree of phoneme similarity directly from word lists. The result is an alternative and intuitive look at how languages are related.... Read more »

Bakker, D., Müller, A., Velupillai, V., Wichmann, S., Brown, C., Brown, P., Egorov, D., Mailhammer, R., Grant, A., & Holman, E. (2009) Adding typology to lexicostatistics: A combined approach to language classification. Linguistic Typology, 13(1), 169-181. DOI: 10.1515/LITY.2009.009  

  • April 5, 2012
  • 05:27 PM
  • 1,128 views

The evolution of numeral classifier constructions

by Richard in A Replicated Typo 2.0

I went to a good talk almost a year ago at the Interfaces III conference at the University of Kent, and I said I’d write about it, but I never got around to it. The slides have been on my desktop ever since. Now that I have a couple hours to kill on the train [...]... Read more »

Vipas Pothipath. (2008) Typology and Evolution of Numeral-Noun Constructions. Unpublished PhD Thesis at the University of Edinburgh. info:/

  • March 22, 2012
  • 04:27 AM
  • 1,997 views

The QHImp Qhallenge: Working memory in humans and Chimpanzees

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Is your memory better than a chimp's? Play our game and find out! We'll be analysing the data in real-time.... Read more »

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