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date: 21 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides evidence for the role of cultural evolution in the emergence of linguistic structure. It reviews these models, and discusses why the emergence of structure in language is a central question for evolutionary linguistics. Computational and experimental models demonstrate that pressures operating during language learning and language use can give rise to the appearance of design in language, through the repeated cycles of learning and use that characterizes language transmission. Finally, this chapter discusses how learning biases at the individual level lead to the presence of typological universals: systematic patterns in how the world’s languages tend to be structured.

Keywords: language evolution, combinatoriality, compositionality, cultural transmission, iterated learning

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