Tessa Verhoef

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In human speech, a finite set of basic sounds is combined into a (potentially) unlimited set of well-formed morphemes. Hockett (1960) placed this phenomenon under the term 'duality of patterning' and included it as one of the basic design features of human language. Of the thirteen basic design features Hockett proposed, duality of patterning is the least(More)
Speech sounds within a linguistic system are both categorical and combinatorial and there are constraints on how elements can be recombined. To investigate the origins of this combinatorial structure, we conducted an iterated learning experiment with human participants, studying the transmission of an artificial system of sounds. In this study, participants(More)
This paper reviews how the structure of form and meaning spaces influences the nature and the dynamics of the form-meaning mappings in language. In general, in a structured form or meaning space, not all forms and meanings are equivalent: some forms and some meanings are more easily confused with each other than with other forms or meanings. We first give a(More)
In language, recombination of a discrete set of meaningless building blocks forms an unlimited set of possible utterances. How such combinatorial structure emerged in the evolution of human language is increasingly being studied. It has been shown that it can emerge when languages culturally evolve and adapt to human cognitive biases. How the emergence of(More)
Languages combine arbitrary and iconic signals. How do iconic signals emerge and when do they persist? We present an experimental study of the role of iconicity in the emergence of structure in an artificial language. Using an iterated communication game in which we control the signalling medium as well as the meaning space, we study the evolution of(More)
To investigate the origins of combinatorial structure in speech, we conducted an iterated learning experiment with human participants, studying the transmission of a system of whistled signals. Participants learn and reproduce a system of sounds with a slide whistle and their recall output is the input for the next participant. Vertical transmission causes(More)
This article reports on an experiment in which artificial languages with whistle words for novel objects are culturally transmitted in the laboratory. The aim of this study is to investigate the origins and evolution of combinatorial structure in speech. Participants learned the whistled language and reproduced the sounds with the use of a slide whistle.(More)