Language evolution seminar
Speaker: Fausto Carcassi (University of Edinburgh)
Title: The evolution of adjectival monotonicity
Abstract: Gärdenfors (2004) presents a generalization about the meaning of nouns, namely that nominal meanings can be represented as convex extensions on conceptual spaces. Carr et al (2017) argue that convexity emerges during language evolution from competing pressures for simplicity and informativeness. We first present a new pattern in the semantic structure of gradable adjectives, which we call monotonicity. We then propose that monotonicity, like convexity, emerges as a response to pressures for simplicity and informativeness but that, unlike convexity, human pragmatic skills play a crucial role in its evolution. We develop a computational model to support this proposal (and, time allowing and considering the recent shift of CLE talks from proper talks to slightly more informal occasions for feedback, also present a yet-unrealized experimental design for feedback).
Seminars are organised by the Centre for Language Evolution