Language dynamics in finite populations. Komarova, N. L & Nowak, M. A *J Theor Biol*, 221(3):445-57, 2003. abstract bibtex Any mechanism of language acquisition can only learn a restricted set of grammars. The human brain contains a mechanism for language acquisition which can learn a restricted set of grammars. The theory of this restricted set is universal grammar (UG). UG has to be sufficiently specific to induce linguistic coherence in a population. This phenomenon is known as "coherence threshold". Previously, we have calculated the coherence threshold for deterministic dynamics and infinitely large populations. Here, we extend the framework to stochastic processes and finite populations. If there is selection for communicative function (selective language dynamics), then the analytic results for infinite populations are excellent approximations for finite populations; as expected, finite populations need a slightly higher accuracy of language acquisition to maintain coherence. If there is no selection for communicative function (neutral language dynamics), then linguistic coherence is only possible for finite populations.

@Article{Komarova2003,
author = {Natalia L Komarova and Martin A Nowak},
journal = {J Theor Biol},
title = {Language dynamics in finite populations.},
year = {2003},
number = {3},
pages = {445-57},
volume = {221},
abstract = {Any mechanism of language acquisition can only learn a restricted
set of grammars. The human brain contains a mechanism for language
acquisition which can learn a restricted set of grammars. The theory
of this restricted set is universal grammar (UG). UG has to be sufficiently
specific to induce linguistic coherence in a population. This phenomenon
is known as "coherence threshold". Previously, we have calculated
the coherence threshold for deterministic dynamics and infinitely
large populations. Here, we extend the framework to stochastic processes
and finite populations. If there is selection for communicative function
(selective language dynamics), then the analytic results for infinite
populations are excellent approximations for finite populations;
as expected, finite populations need a slightly higher accuracy of
language acquisition to maintain coherence. If there is no selection
for communicative function (neutral language dynamics), then linguistic
coherence is only possible for finite populations.},
keywords = {Human, Language Development, Models, Psychological, Statistical, Psycholinguistics, 12642119},
}

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