New Questions for the Next Decade
  • ISSN 1871-1340
  • E-ISSN: 1871-1375
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Why do languages have the words they have, and not some other set of words? While certainly there is some arbitrariness in the lexicon (English ‘frog’ vs. Spanish ‘rana’), there is just as surely some systematicity or functionality in it as well. What exactly might the nature of this systematicity or functionality be? For example, might the lexicon be efficiently adapted for communication, learning, memory storage, retrieval, or other cognitive functions? This paper critically reviews evidence that natural language lexicons efficiently carve up semantic fields (e.g., color, space, kinship) and have phonological forms that are similarly efficient when the aggregate lexicon is considered. The paper also suggests additional ways functionalism in lexicons might be assessed, and speculates on how functional lexicons may have arisen.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Atran, S
    (1995) Classifying nature across cultures. In E.E. Smith & D.N. Osherson (Eds.), Thinking: An invitation to cognitive science (vol. 3, pp.131–174). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Baronchelli, A. , Gong, T. , Puglisi, A. , & Loreto, V
    (2010) Modeling the emergence of universality in color naming patterns. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(6), 2403–2407. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0908533107
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0908533107 [Google Scholar]
  3. Battaglia, P.W. , Hamrick, J.B. , & Tenenbaum, J.B
    (2013) Simulation as an engine of physical scene understanding. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(45), 18327–18332. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1306572110
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1306572110 [Google Scholar]
  4. Beach, L.R
    (1964) Cue probabilism and inference behavior. Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 78(5–6), 1. doi: 10.1037/h0093853
    https://doi.org/10.1037/h0093853 [Google Scholar]
  5. Berlin B. , Kay P
    (1969) Basic color terms: Their universality and evolution. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Berlin, B
    (1992) Ethnobiological classification: Principles of categorization of plants and animals in traditional societies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Blei, D.M
    (2012) Probabilistic topic models. Communications of the ACM, 55(4), 77. doi: 10.1145/2133806.2133826
    https://doi.org/10.1145/2133806.2133826 [Google Scholar]
  8. Bortfeld, H. , Morgan, J ., Golinkoff, R.M. , & Rathbun, K
    (2005) Mommy and me: Familiar names help launch babies into speech-stream segmentation. Psychological Science, 16(4), 298–304. doi: 10.1111/j.0956‑7976.2005.01531.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0956-7976.2005.01531.x [Google Scholar]
  9. Boster, J
    (2005) Emotion categories across languages. In H. Cohen & C. LeFebvre (Eds.), Handbook of categorization in cognitive science (pp.187–222). Amsterdam: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/B978‑008044612‑7/50063‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-008044612-7/50063-9 [Google Scholar]
  10. Bowerman, M. , & Pederson, E
    (1992) Cross-linguistic studies of spatial semantic organization. InAnnual report of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (pp.53–56).
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Brashears, M.E
    (2013) Humans use compression heuristics to improve the recall of social networks. Scientific Reports, 3, 1513. doi: 10.1038/srep01513
    https://doi.org/10.1038/srep01513 [Google Scholar]
  12. Brentari, D. , & Coppola, M
    (2013) What sign language creation teaches us about language. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 4(2), 201–211. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1212
    https://doi.org/10.1002/wcs.1212 [Google Scholar]
  13. Bybee, J.L. , Pagliuca, W. , & Perkins, R.D
    (1990) On the asymmetries in the affixation of grammatical material. In W. Croft , K. Denning , & S. Kemmer (Eds.), Studies in typology and diachrony: Papers presented to Joseph H. Greenberg on his 75th birthday (pp.1–42). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/tsl.20.04byb
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.20.04byb [Google Scholar]
  14. Bybee, J
    (1999) Usage-based phonology. In M. Darnell , E. Moravcsik , F. Newmeyer , M. Noonan , & K. Wheatley (Eds.), Functionalism and formalism in linguistics, Volume I: General papers (pp.211–242). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/slcs.41.12byb
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.41.12byb [Google Scholar]
  15. (2006) From usage to grammar: The mind’s response to repetition. Language, 82(4), 711–733. doi: 10.1353/lan.2006.0186
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2006.0186 [Google Scholar]
  16. Caramazza, A. , & Mahon, B.Z
    (2003) The organization of conceptual knowledge: the evidence from category-specific semantic deficits. Trends in cognitive sciences, 7(8), 354–361. doi: 10.1016/S1364‑6613(03)00159‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S1364-6613(03)00159-1 [Google Scholar]
  17. Carstensen, A. , Xu, J. , Smith, C.T. , & Regier, T
    (2015). Language evolution in the lab tends toward informative communication. In D.C. Noelle , R. Dale , A.S. Warlaumont , J. Yoshimi , T. Matlock , C.D. Jennings , & P.P. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Casasanto, D. , & Lupyan, G
    (2015) All concepts are ad hoc concepts. In E. Margolis & S. Laurence (Eds.), Concepts: New directions (pp.543–566). Cambridge: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Corter, J.E. , & Gluck, M.A
    (1992) Explaining basic categories: Feature predictability and information. Psychological Bulletin, 111(2), 291–303. doi: 10.1037//0033‑2909.111.2.291
    https://doi.org/10.1037//0033-2909.111.2.291 [Google Scholar]
  20. Croft, W
    (1995) Autonomy and functionalist linguistics. Language, 71(3), 490–532. doi: 10.2307/416218
    https://doi.org/10.2307/416218 [Google Scholar]
  21. (2003) Typology and universals (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Cutler, A. , Hawkins, J.A. , & Gilligan, G
    (1986) The suffixing preference: A processing explanation. Linguistics, 23. 723–758.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. de Boer, B
    (2000) Self organization in vowel systems. Journal of Phonetics, 28, 441–465. doi: 10.1006/jpho.2000.0125
    https://doi.org/10.1006/jpho.2000.0125 [Google Scholar]
  24. Dingemanse, M. , Blasi, D.E. , Lupyan, G. , Christiansen, M.H. , & Monaghan, P
    (2015) Arbitrariness, iconicity, and systematicity in language. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19(10), 603–615. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2015.07.013
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2015.07.013 [Google Scholar]
  25. Ferrer i Cancho, R. , & Sole, R.V
    (2003) Least effort and the origins of scaling in human language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 100(3), 788–791. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0335980100
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0335980100 [Google Scholar]
  26. Ferrer-i-Cancho, R. , & Moscoso del Prado Martín, F
    (2011) Information content versus word length in random typing. Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment, 2011(12), L12002. doi: 10.1088/1742‑5468/2011/12/L12002
    https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-5468/2011/12/L12002 [Google Scholar]
  27. Fowler, C.A. , & Housum, J
    (1987) Talkers’ signaling of “new” and “old” words in speech and listeners’ perception and use of the distinction. Journal of Memory and Language, 26(5), 489–504. doi: 10.1016/0749‑596X(87)90136‑7
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0749-596X(87)90136-7 [Google Scholar]
  28. Galantucci, B. , Garrod, S. , & Roberts, G
    (2012) Experimental semiotics. Language and Linguistics Compass, 6(8), 477–493. doi: 10.1002/lnc3.351
    https://doi.org/10.1002/lnc3.351 [Google Scholar]
  29. Gärdenfors, P
    (2000) Conceptual spaces: The geometry of thought. MIT press.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Garner, W.R
    (1974) The processing of information and structure. Potomac, MD: Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Giavazzi, M
    (2010) The phonetics of metrical prominence and its consequences for segmental phonology. PhD thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Graff, P
    (2012) Communicative efficiency in the lexicon. PhD Thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Griffiths, T.L. , Steyvers, M. , & Firl, A
    (2007) Google and the mind: Predicting fluency with Pagerank. Psychological Science, 18(12), 1069–1076. doi: 10.1111/j.1467‑9280.2007.02027.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.02027.x [Google Scholar]
  34. Griffiths, T.L. , Steyvers, M. , & Tenenbaum, J.B.T
    (2007) Topics in semantic representation. Psychological Review, 114(2), 211–244. doi: 10.1037/0033‑295X.114.2.211
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.114.2.211 [Google Scholar]
  35. Griffiths, T.L. , & Tenenbaum, J.B
    (2006) Optimal predictions in everyday cognition. Psychological Science, 17, 767–773. doi: 10.1111/j.1467‑9280.2006.01780.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01780.x [Google Scholar]
  36. Haspelmath, M
    (1999) Optimality and diachronic adaptation. Zeitschrift Für Sprachwissenschaft, 18(2), 180–205.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. (2003) The geometry of grammatical meaning: Semantic maps and cross-linguistic comparison. In M. Tomasello (Ed.), The new psychology of language (vol. 2, pp.211–242). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Hills, T. , Maouene, M. , & Maouene, J . Sheya, A. , & Smith, L
    (2009a) Longitudinal analysis of early semantic networks preferential attachment or preferential acquisition?Psychological Science, 20(6), 729–739. doi: 10.1111/j.1467‑9280.2009.02365.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02365.x [Google Scholar]
  39. Hills, T. , Maouene, M. , Maouene, J. , Sheya, A. , & Smith, L
    (2009b) Categorical structure among shared features in networks of early-learned nouns. Cognition, 112, 381–396. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2009.06.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2009.06.002 [Google Scholar]
  40. Hurford, J.R
    (2003) Why synonymy is rare: Fitness is in the speaker. In W. Banzhaf , T. Christaller , P. Dittrich , J.T. Kim , & J. Ziegler (Eds.), Advances in artificial life– Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on Artificial Life (ECAL), lecture notes in artificial intelligence (vol. 2801, pp.442). Berlin: Springer Verlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Jaeger, T.F. , & Tily, H
    (2011) On language “utility”: processing complexity and communicative efficiency. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 2(3), 323–335. doi: 10.1002/wcs.126
    https://doi.org/10.1002/wcs.126 [Google Scholar]
  42. Kemp, C. , & Regier, T
    (2012) Kinship categories across languages reflect general communicative principles. Science, 336(6084), 1049–1054. doi: 10.1126/science.1218811
    https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1218811 [Google Scholar]
  43. Khetarpal, N. , Majid, A. , & Regier, T
    (2009) Spatial terms reflect near-optimal spatial categories. In N. Taatgen , et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 31st annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Khetarpal, N. , Neveu, G. , Majid, A. , Michael, L. , & Regier, T
    (2013) Spatial terms across languages support near-optimal communication: Evidence from Peruvian Amazonia, and computational analyses. In M. Knauff , M. Pauen , N. Sebanz , & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. King, R
    (1967) Functional load and sound change. Language43, 831–852. doi: 10.2307/411969
    https://doi.org/10.2307/411969 [Google Scholar]
  46. Kirby, S. , Cornish, H. , & Smith, K
    (2008) Cumulative cultural evolution in the laboratory: an experimental approach to the origins of structure in human language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(31), 10681–10686. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0707835105
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0707835105 [Google Scholar]
  47. Kirby, S. , Dowman, M. , & Griffiths, T.L
    (2007) Innateness and culture in the evolution of language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(12), 5241–5245. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0608222104
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0608222104 [Google Scholar]
  48. Kleinberg, J.M
    (2000) Navigation in a small world. Nature, 406(6798), 845. doi: 10.1038/35022643
    https://doi.org/10.1038/35022643 [Google Scholar]
  49. Kurumada, C. , Meylan, S.C. , & Frank, M.C
    (2013) Zipfian frequency distributions facilitate word segmentation in context. Cognition, 127, 439–453. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2013.02.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2013.02.002 [Google Scholar]
  50. Landauer, T.K. , Foltz, P.W. , & Laham, D
    (1998) An introduction to latent semantic analysis. Discourse Processes, 25(2–3), 259–284. doi: 10.1080/01638539809545028
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01638539809545028 [Google Scholar]
  51. Lelu, A
    (2014) Jean-Baptiste Estoup and the origins of Zipf s law: A stenographer with a scientific mind (1868–1950). BEIO, Boletín de Estadística e Investigación Operativa, 30(1), 66–77.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Lindblom, B
    (1986) Phonetic universals in vowel systems. In John Ohala & Jeri Jaeger (Eds.), Experimental phonology (pp.13–44). Orlando: Academic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Loreto, V. , Mukherjee, A. , & Tria, F
    (2012) On the origin of the hierarchy of color names. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(18), 6819–6824. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1113347109
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1113347109 [Google Scholar]
  54. Mahowald, K. , Fedorenko, E. , Piantadosi, S.T. , & Gibson, E
    (2013) Info/information theory: speakers choose shorter words in predictive contexts. Cognition, 126(2), 313–318. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2012.09.010
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2012.09.010 [Google Scholar]
  55. Majid, A. , & Burenhult, N
    (2014) Odors are expressible in language, as long as you speak the right language. Cognition, 130(2), 266–270. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2013.11.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2013.11.004 [Google Scholar]
  56. Majid, A. , Enfield, N.J. , & van Staden, M
    (2006) Parts of the body: Cross-linguistic categorisation (Special Issue). Language Sciences, 28(2–3). doi: 10.1016/j.langsci.2005.11.012
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langsci.2005.11.012 [Google Scholar]
  57. Malt, B.C. , Sloman, S.A. , Gennari, S. , Shi, M. , & Wang, Y
    (1999) Knowing versus naming: Similarity and the linguistic categorization of artifacts. Journal of Memory and Language, 40, 230–262. doi: 10.1006/jmla.1998.2593
    https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.1998.2593 [Google Scholar]
  58. Marcus, G.F. , & Davis, E
    (2013) How robust are probabilistic models of higher-level cognition?Psychological Science, 24(12), 2351–2360. doi: 10.1177/0956797613495418
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797613495418 [Google Scholar]
  59. Margolis, E. , & Laurence, S
    (2014) Concepts. In E.N. Zalta (Ed.), The stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition). Retrieved from plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2014/entries/concepts/.
    [Google Scholar]
  60. Markman, E.M. , & Wachtel, G.F
    (1988) Children’s use of mutual exclusivity to constrain the meanings of words. Cognitive psychology, 20(2), 121–157. doi: 10.1016/0010‑0285(88)90017‑5
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-0285(88)90017-5 [Google Scholar]
  61. Martin, A
    2007The evolving Lexicon. PhD Thesis, University of California, Los Angeles.
    [Google Scholar]
  62. Martinet, A
    (1952) Function, structure, and sound change. Word, 8, 1–32. doi: 10.1080/00437956.1952.11659416
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00437956.1952.11659416 [Google Scholar]
  63. Miller, G.A
    (1957) Some effects of intermittent silence. The American Journal of Psychology, 70(2), 311–314. doi: 10.2307/1419346
    https://doi.org/10.2307/1419346 [Google Scholar]
  64. Moscoso del Prado Martin, F
    (2013) The missing baselines in arguments for the optimal efficiency of languages. Csjarchive.cogsci.rpi.edu, 1032–1037. Retrieved fromcsjarchive.cogsci.rpi.edu/Proceedings/2013/papers/0203/paper0203.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  65. Murphy, G
    (2002) The big book of concepts. Cambridge, MA: MIT press.
    [Google Scholar]
  66. Newman, M.E
    (2002) Assortative mixing in networks. Physical review letters, 89(20), 208701. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.89.208701
    https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.89.208701 [Google Scholar]
  67. Piantadosi, S.T
    (2014) Zipf’s word frequency law in natural language: A critical review and future directions. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 1–35. doi: 10.3758/s13423‑014‑0585‑6
    https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-014-0585-6 [Google Scholar]
  68. Piantadosi, S.T. , Tily, H. , & Gibson, E
    (2011) Word lengths are optimized for efficient communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(9), 3526–3529. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1012551108
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1012551108 [Google Scholar]
  69. (2012) The communicative function of ambiguity in language. Cognition, 122(3), 280–291. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2011.10.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2011.10.004 [Google Scholar]
  70. Piantadosi, S.T. , Tily, H.J. , & Gibson, E
    (2009) The communicative lexicon hypothesis. In Proceedings of the 31st annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp.2582–2587).
    [Google Scholar]
  71. Piantadosi, S. , Tily, H. , & Gibson, E
    (2013) Information content versus word length in natural language: A reply to Ferrer-i-Cancho and Moscoso del Prado Martin (2011). arXiv Preprint arXiv:1307.6726, 2011, 1–8. Retrieved fromarxiv.org/abs/1307.6726
    [Google Scholar]
  72. Posner, M.I. , & Keele, S.W
    (1968) On the genesis of abstract ideas. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 77, 353–363. doi: 10.1037/h0025953
    https://doi.org/10.1037/h0025953 [Google Scholar]
  73. (1970) Retention of abstract ideas. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 83, 304–308. doi: 10.1037/h0028558
    https://doi.org/10.1037/h0028558 [Google Scholar]
  74. Reed, K
    (1972) Pattern recognition. Cognitive Psychology, 407, 382–407. doi: 10.1016/0010‑0285(72)90014‑X
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-0285(72)90014-X [Google Scholar]
  75. Regier, T. , Kay, P. , & Khetarpal, N
    (2007) Color naming reflects optimal partitions of color space. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(4), 1436–1441. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0610341104
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0610341104 [Google Scholar]
  76. Regier, T. , Kemp, C. , & Kay, P
    (2015) Word meanings across languages support efficient communication. In B. MacWhinney & W.O. Grady (Eds.), The handbook of language emergence (pp.237–263). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
    [Google Scholar]
  77. Richie, R. , Kaufmann, S. , & Tabor, W
    (2014) An LSA-based method for estimating word meaning specificity: An application to an account of Zipf’s Law. Poster presented at the 9th annual Mental Lexicon Conference , Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada.
    [Google Scholar]
  78. Roberson, D. , Davies, I. , & Davidoff, J
    (2000) Color categories are not universal: Replications and new evidence from a stone-age culture. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 129, 369–398. doi: 10.1037/0096‑3445.129.3.369
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.129.3.369 [Google Scholar]
  79. Roberson, D. , Davidoff, J. , Davies, I.R.L. , & Shapiro, L.R
    (2005) Color categories: Evidence for the cultural relativity hypothesis. Cognitive Psychology, 50, 378–411. doi: 10.1016/j.cogpsych.2004.10.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogpsych.2004.10.001 [Google Scholar]
  80. Rosch, E
    (1973) On the internal structure of perceptual and semantic categories. In T.E. Moore (Ed.), Cognitive development and the acquisition of language. New York: Academic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  81. Rosch, E. , Simpson, C. , & Miller, R.S
    (1976) Structural bases of typicality effects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 2, 491–502. doi: 10.1037/0096‑1523.2.4.491
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.2.4.491 [Google Scholar]
  82. Rosch, E
    (1978) Principles of categorization. In E. Rosch & B.B. Lloyd (Eds.), Cognition and categorization. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Reprinted in: Margolis, E. and Laurence, S. (Eds.) (1999). Concepts: Core readings. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  83. Sagi, E. , Kaufmann, S. , & Clark, B
    (2011) Tracing semantic change with latent semantic analysis. In K. Allan & J.A. Robinson (Eds.), Current methods in historical semantics (pp.161–183). Berlin, Germany: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  84. Scott-Phillips, T.C. , & Kirby, S
    (2010) Language evolution in the laboratory. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 14(9), 411–417. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2010.06.006
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2010.06.006 [Google Scholar]
  85. Scott-Phillips, T.C. , Dickins, T.E. , & West, S.A
    (2011) Evolutionary theory and the ultimate–proximate distinction in the human behavioral sciences. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(1), 38–47. doi: 10.1177/1745691610393528
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691610393528 [Google Scholar]
  86. Silvey, C. , Kirby, S. , & Smith, K
    (2013). Communication leads to the emergence of sub-optimal category structures. In M. Knauff , M. Pauen , N. Sebanz , & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp.1312–1317). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
    [Google Scholar]
  87. Steels, L. , & Belpaeme, T
    (2005) Coordinating perceptually grounded categories through language: A case study for colour. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 28(4), 469–489; discussion 489–529. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X05000087
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X05000087 [Google Scholar]
  88. Steels, L
    (2011) Modeling the cultural evolution of language. Physics of Life Reviews, 8(4), 339–356. doi: 10.1016/j.plrev.2011.10.014
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plrev.2011.10.014 [Google Scholar]
  89. Steyvers, M. , & Tenenbaum, J.B
    (2005) The large-scale structure of semantic networks: Statistical analyses and a model of semantic growth. Cognitive Science, 29(1), 41–78. doi: 10.1207/s15516709cog2901_3
    https://doi.org/10.1207/s15516709cog2901_3 [Google Scholar]
  90. Thompson, B. , Silvey, C. , Kirby, S. , & Smith, K
    (2014) The effect of communication on category structure. In E.A. Cartmill , S. Roberts , H. Lyn , & H. Cornish (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference (EVOLANG10). Singapore: World Scientific.
    [Google Scholar]
  91. Thompson, G.W. , & Kello, C.T
    (2014) Walking across Wikipedia: A scale-free network model of semantic memory retrieval. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 86. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00086
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00086 [Google Scholar]
  92. Thompson, D
    (1917) On growth and form. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.5962/bhl.title.11332
    https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.11332 [Google Scholar]
  93. Vitevitch, M.S. , Chan, K.Y. , & Goldstein, R
    (2014) Insights into failed lexical retrieval from network science. Cognitive Psychology, 68, 1–32. doi: 10.1016/j.cogpsych.2013.10.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogpsych.2013.10.002 [Google Scholar]
  94. Wedel, A. , Jackson, S. , & Kaplan, A
    (2013) Functional load and the lexicon: Evidence that syntactic category and frequency relationships in minimal lemma pairs predict the loss of phoneme contrasts in language change. Language and Speech, 56(3), 395–417. doi: 10.1177/0023830913489096
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0023830913489096 [Google Scholar]
  95. Wedel, A. , Kaplan, A. , & Jackson, S
    (2013) High functional load inhibits phonological contrast loss: a corpus study. Cognition, 128(2), 179–186. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2013.03.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2013.03.002 [Google Scholar]
  96. Wittgenstein, L
    (1921/1922) Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd.
    [Google Scholar]
  97. (1953/2010) Philosophical investigations. Blackwell Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  98. Wnuk, E. , & Majid, A
    (2014) Revisiting the limits of language: The odor lexicon of Maniq. Cognition, 131(1), 125–138. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2013.12.008
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2013.12.008 [Google Scholar]
  99. Xu, J. , Dowman, M. , & Griffiths, T
    (2013) Cultural transmission results in convergence towards colour term universals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 280, 1758. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.3073
    https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.3073 [Google Scholar]
  100. Xu, Y. , & Regier, T
    (2014) Numeral systems across languages support efficient communication: From approximate numerosity to recursion. In P. Bello et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
    [Google Scholar]
  101. Xu, Y. , & Kemp, C
    (2015) A computational evaluation of two laws of semantic change. In D. C. Noelle , R. Dale , A.S. Warlaumont , J. Yoshimi , T. Matlock , C.D. Jennings , & P.P. Maglio (Eds.), 37th annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
    [Google Scholar]
  102. Xu, Y. , Regier, T. , & Malt, B.C
    (2015), Historical semantic chaining and efficient communication: The case of container names. Cognitive Science. doi: 10.1111/cogs.12312
    https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.12312 [Google Scholar]
  103. Yee, E. , & Thompson-Schill, S.L
    (2016) Putting concepts into context. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23(4), 1015–1027. doi: 10.3758/s13423‑015‑0948‑7
    https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-015-0948-7 [Google Scholar]
  104. Zipf, G
    (1949) Human behavior and the principle of least effort. New York: Addison-Wesley.
    [Google Scholar]
  105. Zuidema, W. , & Westermann, G
    (2003) Evolution of an optimal lexicon under constraints from embodiment. Artificial Life, 1–14.
    [Google Scholar]
  106. Zwarts, J
    (1995) The semantics of relative position. Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory , 5, 405–422.
    [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): categorization; cultural evolution; functionalism; lexicon
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