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The cultural evolution of complex linguistic constructions in artificial sign languages

Motamedi, Y; Schouwstra, M; Culbertson, J; Smith, K; Kirby, S; (2017) The cultural evolution of complex linguistic constructions in artificial sign languages. In: Gunzelmann, G and Howes, A and Tenbrink, T and Davelaar, E, (eds.) CogSci 2017. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. (pp. pp. 2760-2765). CogSci Green open access

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Abstract

Though most documented sign languages make use of space to denote relationships between predicate arguments, studies of emerging sign languages suggest that spatial reference does not emerge fully-formed but takes time to develop. We present an artificial sign language learning experiment that expands the cultural evolutionary framework to investigate complex linguistic constructions. Our results demonstrate the gradual emergence of consistent devices to distinguish between sentence arguments, some of which rely on iconic spatial contrasts. These findings mirror data from emerging sign languages and point to the cultural mechanisms that facilitate the evolution of complex linguistic structures.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: The cultural evolution of complex linguistic constructions in artificial sign languages
Event: CogSci 2017: 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 26-29 July, London, UK
Location: London, UK
Dates: 26 July 2017 - 29 July 2017
ISBN-13: 978-0-9911967-6-0
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2017/papers/0522/in...
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: Language; cultural evolution; learning; communication; sign language; gesture
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/1566613
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