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Lexical Acquisition with and without Metacommunication

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Jonathan Ginzburg, Zoran Macura

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmergence of Communication and Language
Subtitle of host publicationPart III
PublisherSpringer London
Pages287-301
Number of pages15
VolumeIII
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-84628-779-4
ISBN (Print)978-1-84628-491-5
DOIs
Published2007

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King's Authors

Abstract

A central concern of work on the evolution of language has been to offer an account for the emergence of syntactically complex structure, which underwrites a compositional semantics. In this chapter we consider the emergence of one class of utterances which illustrate that semantic expressiveness is not correlated with syntactic complexity, namely metacommunicative interaction (MCI) utterances. These are utterance acts in which conversationalists acknowledge understanding or request clarification. We offer a simple characterisation of the incremental change required for MCI to emerge from an MCI-less linguistic interaction system. This theoretical setting underpins and motivates the development of an ALife environment in which the lexicon dynamics of populations that possess and lack MCI capabilities are compared.

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