Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/22890
Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages Book Chapters and Sections
Title: Dynamic Models of Language Evolution: The Linguistic Perspective
Author(s): Smith, Andrew D M
Contact Email: andrew.smith@stir.ac.uk
Editor(s): Ginsburgh, V
Weber, S
Citation: Smith ADM (2016) Dynamic Models of Language Evolution: The Linguistic Perspective. In: Ginsburgh V & Weber S (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Economics and Language. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 61-100. http://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9781137325044
Keywords: language change
language evolution
dynamic models of language change
Issue Date: Feb-2016
Abstract: Language is probably the key defining characteristic of humanity, an immensely powerful tool which provides its users with an infinitely expressive means of representing their complex thoughts and reflections, and of successfully communicating them to others. It is the foundation on which human societies have been built and the means through which humanity’s unparalleled intellectual and technological achievements have been realized. Although we have a natural intuitive understanding of what a language is, the specification of a particular language is nevertheless remarkably difficult, if not impossible, to pin down precisely. All languages contain many separate yet integral systems which work interdependently to allow the expression of our thoughts and the interpretation of others’ expressions: each has, for instance, a set of basic meaningless sounds (e.g. [e], [l], [s]) which can be combined to make different meaningful words and parts of words (e.g. < Emphasis Type="Italic">else, less, sell, -less < /Emphasis>); these meaningful units can be combined to make complex words (e.g. < Emphasis Type="Italic">spinelessness, selling < /Emphasis>), and the words themselves can then be combined in very many complex ways into phrases, clauses and an infinite number of meaningful sentences; finally each of these sentences can be interpreted in dramatically different ways, depending on the contexts in which it is uttered and on who is doing the interpretation. Languages can be analysed at any of these different levels, which make up many of the sub-fields of linguistics, and the primary job of linguistic theorists is to try to explain the rules which best explain these complex combinations.
Rights: Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository. Published in The Palgrave Handbook of Economics and Language (V Ginsburgh and S Weber, eds) by Palgrave Macmillan. This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive, published, version of record is available here http://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9781137325044
URL: http://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9781137325044

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Dynamic Models of Language Evolution.pdfFulltext - Accepted Version346.23 kBAdobe PDFView/Open



This item is protected by original copyright



Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact library@stir.ac.uk providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.