The Grounded Naming Game

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This chapter shows a concrete example of a language game experiment for studying the cultural evolution of one of the most basic functions of language, namely to draw attention to an object in the context by naming a characteristic feature of the object. If the object is a specific recognizable individual, then the name is called a proper name, and this is the case that is studied in this chapter. We investigate a concrete operational language strategy, with a conceptual as well a linguistic component, and show that a population of agents endowed with this strategy is able to self-organize a vocabulary of grounded proper names from scratch. The example provides a clear example of the role of alignment in stimulating self-organization and how expressive adequacy, cognitive effort, learnability, and social conformity act as selectionist forces, driving the population towards an effective language system.


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