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Visiting students should have at least 3 Linguistics/Language Sciences courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
The study of the origins and evolution of language and communication has seen a resurgence of interest in recent years. Part of the reason for this has been the application of new techniques from computer modelling to test out different hypotheses about how language evolved. This allows researchers to run experiments on populations of simulated individuals, essentially rerunning competing proposed scenarios for the evolution of language. In this course, we will build and run experiments with very simple models that nevertheless cast light on a wide range of puzzles - from the origins of animal communication all the way to the emergence of patterns of regularity and irregularity in language structure. Each of these models will build on the previous ones and at each step we will relate the practical work we are doing with the existing literature on simulating language, as well as broader issues in the scientific understanding of the origins and ongoing evolution of language. This course will be suitable for anyone interested in the dynamic processes underpinning language, including individual learning, cultural transmission, and biological evolution. It will involve a mix of practical lab work, lectures and discussions. Experience of programming (using any language) would be an advantage, but is not a prerequisite.
College of Humanities and Social Science
School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
This article was published on Feb 24, 2012