Old questions on the origins of language and communication are illuminated here in new, state-of-the-art research:

Emergence of Communication and Language

Edited by Caroline Lyon, Chrystopher L. Nehaniv and Angelo Cangelosi

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Published by Springer, 2007. ISBN 1-84628-491-0

This volume brings together studies from diverse disciplines, showing how they can inform and stimulate each other. It includes work in linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology and computer science. New empirical work is reported on both human and animal communication, using some novel techniques that have only recently become workable.

A principal theme is the importance of studies involving artificial agents, their contribution to the body of knowledge on the emergence of communication and language, and the role of simulations in exploring some of the most significant issues. A number of different synthetic systems are described, showing how communication can emerge in natural and artificial organisms. Theories on the origins of language are supported by computational and robotic experiments.

Worldwide contributors to this volume include some of the most influential figures in the field, delivering essential reading for researchers and graduates in the area, as well as providing fascinating insights for a wider readership.


Current Work and Open Problems: A Roadmap for Research into the Emergence of Communication and Language by Chrystopher L. Nehaniv, Caroline Lyon, and Angelo Cangelosi

Section 1: Empirical Investigations on Human Language
Evolving Meaning: The Roles of Kin Selection, Allomothering and Paternal Care in Language Evolution by W. Tecumseh Fitch

`Needs only' Analysis in Linguistic Ontogeny and Phylogeny by Alison Wray

Clues from Information Theory Indicating a Phased Emergence of Grammar by Caroline Lyon, Chrystopher L. Nehaniv and Bob Dickerson

Emergence of a Communication System: International Sign by Rachel Rosenstock

Distributed Language: Biomechanics, Functions, and the Origins of Talk by Stephen J. Cowley

Section 2: Synthesis of Communication and Language in Artificial Systems
The Recruitment Theory of Language Origins by Luc Steels

In silico Evolutionary Developmental Neurobiology and the Origin of Natural Language by Eörs Szathmáry, Zoltán Szatmáry, Péter Ittzés, Gergö Orbán, István Zachár, Ferenc Huszár, Anna Fedor, Máté Varga, Szabolcs Számadó

Communication in Natural and Artificial Organisms: Experiments in Evolutionary Robotics by Davide Marocco and Stefano Nolfi

From Vocal Replication to Shared Combinatorial Speech Codes: A Small Step for Evolution, a Big Step for Language by Pierre-Yves Oudeyer

Learning and Transition of Symbols: Towards a Dynamical Model of a Symbolic Individual by Takashi Hashimoto and Akira Masumi

Language Change among `Memoryless Learners' Simulated in Language Dynamics Equations by Makoto Nakamura, Takashi Hashimoto and Satoshi Tojo

The Evolution of Meaning-space Structure through Iterated Learning by Simon Kirby

The Emergence of Language: How to Simulate It by Domenico Parisi and Marco Mirolli

Lexical Acquisition with and without Metacommunication by Jonathan Ginzburg and Zoran Macura

Agent Based Modelling of Communication Costs: Why Information Can be Free by Ivana Čače and Joanna Bryson

Language Change and the Inference of Meaning by Andrew D. M. Smith

Language, Perceptual Categories and their Interaction: Insights from Computational Modelling by Tony Belpaeme and Joris Bleys

Section 3: Insights from Animal Communication

Emergence of Linguistic Communication: Studies on Grey Parrots by Irene M. Pepperberg

A Possible Role for Selective Masking in the Evolution of Complex, Learned Communication Systems by Graham R. S. Ritchie and Simon Kirby

The Natural History of Human Language: Bridging the Gaps without Magic by Bjorn Merker and Kazuo Okanoya

Neural Substrates for String-Context Mutual Segmentation: A Path to Human Language by Kazuo Okanoya and Bjorn Merker

Information about the editors is here, and about the authors and their affiliations here.

The original idea for this book came from the successful 2nd International Symposium on the Emergence and Evolution of Linguistic Communication (EELC '05) held in Hatfield, UK, in April 2005. Grants from the British Academy and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in support of this workshop are gratefully acknowledged.