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Survival of the fittest: Linguistic evolution in practice
Date:12/8/2011

these findings is that the sounds in a word can subtly bias the choices people make about whether or not to create that word, or use it once created, ultimately influencing which words "catch on" and which die out.

This research also tells us something about how the rules within a language are interrelated. It would be simple to build a computer, for example, that could learn that long consonants are forbidden in one context, and completely acceptable in another context. Humans don't seem to work this way, thoughwhen they learn that something is forbidden in one context, they can't help but think that the same thing doesn't sound very good even in a completely different context. This connectivity must be taken into account when building models of how people learn and store the rules of their language.


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Contact: Alyson Reed
areed@lsadc.org
202-835-1714
Linguistic Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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