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Aging in language dynamics.

Mukherjee A, Tria F, Baronchelli A, Puglisi A, Loreto V - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: The observed emerging asymptotic categorization, which has been previously tested--with success--against experimental data from human languages, corresponds to a metastable state where global shifts are always possible but progressively more unlikely and the response properties depend on the age of the system.This aging mechanism exhibits striking quantitative analogies to what is observed in the statistical mechanics of glassy systems.We argue that this can be a general scenario in language dynamics where shared linguistic conventions would not emerge as attractors, but rather as metastable states.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute for Scientific Interchange (ISI), Torino, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Human languages evolve continuously, and a puzzling problem is how to reconcile the apparent robustness of most of the deep linguistic structures we use with the evidence that they undergo possibly slow, yet ceaseless, changes. Is the state in which we observe languages today closer to what would be a dynamical attractor with statistically stationary properties or rather closer to a non-steady state slowly evolving in time? Here we address this question in the framework of the emergence of shared linguistic categories in a population of individuals interacting through language games. The observed emerging asymptotic categorization, which has been previously tested--with success--against experimental data from human languages, corresponds to a metastable state where global shifts are always possible but progressively more unlikely and the response properties depend on the age of the system. This aging mechanism exhibits striking quantitative analogies to what is observed in the statistical mechanics of glassy systems. We argue that this can be a general scenario in language dynamics where shared linguistic conventions would not emerge as attractors, but rather as metastable states.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Linguistic vs. perceptual categories.Parametric plot of the number of linguistic categories vs. the number of perceptual categories, , for different population sizes for which the bending region is accessible within a reasonable time (,  and ). It is evident that there is a transition (indicated by the bold arrow) between a long-lasting regime where the number of perceptual categories keeps increasing, though at a very slow pace, and a regime where discrimination stops, the number of perceptual categories does not increase anymore and one observes only a decrease in the number of linguistic categories. The inset shows one representative example of the time evolution of  and  for  = 100 where the bold arrow marks the onset of the bending.
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pone-0016677-g005: Linguistic vs. perceptual categories.Parametric plot of the number of linguistic categories vs. the number of perceptual categories, , for different population sizes for which the bending region is accessible within a reasonable time (, and ). It is evident that there is a transition (indicated by the bold arrow) between a long-lasting regime where the number of perceptual categories keeps increasing, though at a very slow pace, and a regime where discrimination stops, the number of perceptual categories does not increase anymore and one observes only a decrease in the number of linguistic categories. The inset shows one representative example of the time evolution of and for  = 100 where the bold arrow marks the onset of the bending.

Mentions: The onset of the bending region is marked by a clear phenomenon occurring in the structure of the perceptual and linguistic categories. In the plateau region discrimination keeps taking place, though at a slow pace, while at the onset of the bending region discrimination ceases and one is left with a pure dynamics of the boundaries between linguistic categories (see fig. 5). A detailed description of the dynamics of the domain boundaries in the plateau and in the bending region is out of the scope of the present paper and it will be presented elsewhere. It is nevertheless interesting to mention that one can describe the dynamics of the domain boundaries between linguistic categories in terms of correlated random walkers. The crucial difference between the plateau region (where aging occurs) and the bending region is that when the system ages the number of perceptual categories, which represent the underlying lattice where the random walkers can diffuse, is an increasing function of time while it is a constant when finite-size effects start.


Aging in language dynamics.

Mukherjee A, Tria F, Baronchelli A, Puglisi A, Loreto V - PLoS ONE (2011)

Linguistic vs. perceptual categories.Parametric plot of the number of linguistic categories vs. the number of perceptual categories, , for different population sizes for which the bending region is accessible within a reasonable time (,  and ). It is evident that there is a transition (indicated by the bold arrow) between a long-lasting regime where the number of perceptual categories keeps increasing, though at a very slow pace, and a regime where discrimination stops, the number of perceptual categories does not increase anymore and one observes only a decrease in the number of linguistic categories. The inset shows one representative example of the time evolution of  and  for  = 100 where the bold arrow marks the onset of the bending.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3040735&req=5

pone-0016677-g005: Linguistic vs. perceptual categories.Parametric plot of the number of linguistic categories vs. the number of perceptual categories, , for different population sizes for which the bending region is accessible within a reasonable time (, and ). It is evident that there is a transition (indicated by the bold arrow) between a long-lasting regime where the number of perceptual categories keeps increasing, though at a very slow pace, and a regime where discrimination stops, the number of perceptual categories does not increase anymore and one observes only a decrease in the number of linguistic categories. The inset shows one representative example of the time evolution of and for  = 100 where the bold arrow marks the onset of the bending.
Mentions: The onset of the bending region is marked by a clear phenomenon occurring in the structure of the perceptual and linguistic categories. In the plateau region discrimination keeps taking place, though at a slow pace, while at the onset of the bending region discrimination ceases and one is left with a pure dynamics of the boundaries between linguistic categories (see fig. 5). A detailed description of the dynamics of the domain boundaries in the plateau and in the bending region is out of the scope of the present paper and it will be presented elsewhere. It is nevertheless interesting to mention that one can describe the dynamics of the domain boundaries between linguistic categories in terms of correlated random walkers. The crucial difference between the plateau region (where aging occurs) and the bending region is that when the system ages the number of perceptual categories, which represent the underlying lattice where the random walkers can diffuse, is an increasing function of time while it is a constant when finite-size effects start.

Bottom Line: The observed emerging asymptotic categorization, which has been previously tested--with success--against experimental data from human languages, corresponds to a metastable state where global shifts are always possible but progressively more unlikely and the response properties depend on the age of the system.This aging mechanism exhibits striking quantitative analogies to what is observed in the statistical mechanics of glassy systems.We argue that this can be a general scenario in language dynamics where shared linguistic conventions would not emerge as attractors, but rather as metastable states.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute for Scientific Interchange (ISI), Torino, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Human languages evolve continuously, and a puzzling problem is how to reconcile the apparent robustness of most of the deep linguistic structures we use with the evidence that they undergo possibly slow, yet ceaseless, changes. Is the state in which we observe languages today closer to what would be a dynamical attractor with statistically stationary properties or rather closer to a non-steady state slowly evolving in time? Here we address this question in the framework of the emergence of shared linguistic categories in a population of individuals interacting through language games. The observed emerging asymptotic categorization, which has been previously tested--with success--against experimental data from human languages, corresponds to a metastable state where global shifts are always possible but progressively more unlikely and the response properties depend on the age of the system. This aging mechanism exhibits striking quantitative analogies to what is observed in the statistical mechanics of glassy systems. We argue that this can be a general scenario in language dynamics where shared linguistic conventions would not emerge as attractors, but rather as metastable states.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus