Next Article in Journal
Complex Intelligent Systems: Juxtaposition of Foundational Notions and a Research Agenda
Previous Article in Journal
Maximum Entropy Fundamentals
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Entropy 2001, 3(4), 227-246;

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
Full-Text   |   PDF [153 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]


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. View Full-Text
Keywords: language evolution; evolutionary game theory; Shannon's noisy coding theorem; phoneme language evolution; evolutionary game theory; Shannon's noisy coding theorem; phoneme
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

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

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Entropy EISSN 1099-4300 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top