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Evolving artificial sign languages in the lab: From improvised gesture to systematic sign

Motamedi, Y; Schouwstra, M; Smith, K; Culbertson, J; Kirby, S; (2019) Evolving artificial sign languages in the lab: From improvised gesture to systematic sign. Cognition , 192 , Article 103964. 10.1016/j.cognition.2019.05.001. Green open access

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Abstract

Recent work on emerging sign languages provides evidence for how key properties of linguistic systems are created. Here we use laboratory experiments to investigate the contribution of two specific mechanisms—interaction and transmission—to the emergence of a manual communication system in silent gesturers. We show that the combined effects of these mechanisms, rather than either alone, maintain communicative efficiency, and lead to a gradual increase of regularity and systematic structure. The gestures initially produced by participants are unsystematic and resemble pantomime, but come to develop key language-like properties similar to those documented in newly emerging sign systems.

Type: Article
Title: Evolving artificial sign languages in the lab: From improvised gesture to systematic sign
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2019.05.001
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2019.05.001
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Silent gesture, Iterated learning, Interaction, Transmission, Sign language, Language evolution
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10078227
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