Tid: Torsdagen 12 september kl. 15:00-17:00
Plats:  C307, Södra huset, Frescati.

Seminariet börjar med en föreläsning som beräknas ta 45 minuter.
Efteråt finns tid för diskussion.


Linguistic norms emerge in human communities because people tend to imitate each other as they interact repeatedly. The norms of any language have a great deal of arbitrariness; benefits arise more from the existence of a shared system of expression rather than from its specific form. Given these assumptions, why do human languages continue to change once a shared system has emerged? This question is a major challenge for models of language dynamics. In a variety of models, linguistic consensus is essentially stable once it has emerged, except that rare forms tend to be lost over time due to their poor learnability.

This talk will present a novel set of calculations on language change in social networks. It will focus on the adoption of new words and expressions, such as "lol", "wassup", or quotative "like". By systematically exploring the effects of cognitive and social parameters in a model of repeated interaction, I identify a new mechanism for innovations by ordinary people to cascade in linguistic communities, and become generally adopted. This dynamic can sustain the complexity of human languages against the attrition of rare forms. It also suggests analogies between language and other social and biological systems.

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