Entropy 2001, 3(4), 227-246; doi:10.3390/e3040227

Major Transitions in Language Evolution

Institute for Advanced Study, Olden Lane, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 June 2001; Accepted: 1 October 2001 / Published: 10 October 2001
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Abstract: Language is the most important evolutionary invention of the last few million years. How human language evolved from animal communication is a challenging question for evolutionary biology. In this paper we use mathematical models to analyze the major transitions in language evolution. We begin by discussing the evolution of coordinated associations between signals and objects in a population. We then analyze word-formation and its relationship to Shannon's noisy coding theorem. Finally, we model the population dynamics of words and the adaptive emergence of syntax.
Keywords: language evolution; evolutionary game theory; Shannon's noisy coding theorem; phoneme

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MDPI and ACS Style

Plotkin, J.B.; Nowak, M.A. Major Transitions in Language Evolution. Entropy 2001, 3, 227-246.

AMA Style

Plotkin JB, Nowak MA. Major Transitions in Language Evolution. Entropy. 2001; 3(4):227-246.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Plotkin, Joshua B.; Nowak, Martin A. 2001. "Major Transitions in Language Evolution." Entropy 3, no. 4: 227-246.

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