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Artificial Life

Spring 2002, Vol. 8, No. 2, Pages 185-215
(doi: 10.1162/106454602320184248)
© 2002 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Natural Language From Artificial Life
Article PDF (434.22 KB)

This article aims to show that linguistics, in particular the study of the lexico-syntactic aspects of language, provides fertile ground for artificial life modeling. A survey of the models that have been developed over the last decade and a half is presented to demonstrate that ALife techniques have a lot to offer an explanatory theory of language. It is argued that this is because much of the structure of language is determined by the interaction of three complex adaptive systems: learning, culture, and biological evolution. Computational simulation, informed by theoretical linguistics, is an appropriate response to the challenge of explaining real linguistic data in terms of the processes that underpin human language.