1887
Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
GBP
Buy:£15.00 + Taxes

Abstract

An important question in language evolution is whether segmentation as a linguistic process is able to yield compositionality. Segmentation is hypothesized to be a process to bridge the gap between holistic and compositional lexicons. However, to date no thorough analytical method has been provided to test the feasibility of segmentation. In this paper, an analytical model is presented that can predict the probability of encountering various kinds of overlaps by observing utterance pairs, and the probability of finding confirmation in the language for newly extracted segments. Language users start by using a previously evolved holistic lexicon to communicate about simple environments. They segment these holistic utterances to smaller pieces, which can be used as elements of a compositional lexicon. The model reveals that the feasibility of segmentation depends on the definition of counterexamples, i.e. those associations (pairs), which either cause ambiguous extraction of segments, or do not allow segmentation at all. On one hand if inexact overlaps are considered to be contradictory (i.e. causing confusion) to a perfect exact overlap, then the probability is so minuscule that it renders the role of segmentation marginal during language evolution. On the other hand, if such inexact counterexamples are able to be segmented unambiguously due to extra cognitive capacities, segmentation may have a much higher feasibility. Keywords: segmentation; fractionation; analysis; holistic; protolanguage; compositionality

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1075/is.12.1.01zac
2011-01-01
2018-12-10
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1075/is.12.1.01zac
Loading

Most Cited This Month

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error