Grammatical marking and the tradeoff between code length and informativeness

Francis Mollica, Geoff Bacon, Yang Xu, Terry Regier , Charles Kemp

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Functionalist accounts of language suggest that forms are paired with meanings in ways that support efficient communication. Previous work on grammatical marking suggests that word forms have lengths that enable efficient production, and previous work on the semantic typology of the lexicon suggests that word meanings represent efficient partitions of semantic space. Here we consider an integrated information-theoretic framework that captures how communicative pressures influence both form and meaning. We take tense systems as a case study, and show how the framework explains both which tense systems are attested across languages and the length asymmetries of the forms in those systems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 42th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
EditorsStephanie Denison, Michael Mack, Yang Xu, Blair C. Armstrong
PublisherCognitive Science Society
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020
Event42nd Annual Virtual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society - Virtual Meeting, Toronto, Canada
Duration: 29 Jul 20201 Aug 2020
https://cognitivesciencesociety.org/cogsci-2020/

Conference

Conference42nd Annual Virtual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
Abbreviated titleCogSci 2020
CountryCanada
CityToronto
Period29/07/201/08/20
Internet address

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