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By Rudolf Botha, Chris Knight

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I have profited enormously from many discussions with Chris Knight to help pin down and clarify the social prerequisites for language. Martin Loetzsch, Frederic Kaplan, Emily Wang, and other members of Sony CSL Paris and the VUB AI Lab in Brussels played major roles in the experiments discussed here. Is sociality a prerequisite for the emergence of language? 37 This chapter reports theoretical research exploring the hypothesis that language evolved in a cultural fashion as a complex adaptive system.

2 Language as a complex adaptive system Debates on the origins of language are traditionally divided between those emphasizing genetic evolution (both of the language faculty and of the Is sociality a prerequisite for the emergence of language? 39 conceptual repertoire that can be used for the meaning of language expressions) versus those that emphasize cultural evolution. An intermediate position assigns an important role to genetic assimilation, arguing that culturally evolved systems could have become genetically engrained.

Opposing hypotheses can be tried out and compared and their coherence and validity tested. Thus one can investigate a strong nativist position just as easily as a cultural or social one. The work reported here has been funded and carried out by the Sony Computer Science Laboratories in Paris. I have profited enormously from many discussions with Chris Knight to help pin down and clarify the social prerequisites for language. Martin Loetzsch, Frederic Kaplan, Emily Wang, and other members of Sony CSL Paris and the VUB AI Lab in Brussels played major roles in the experiments discussed here.

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