In silico Evolutionary Developmental Neurobiology and the Origin of Natural Language (Abstract)

@inproceedings{Szathmry2008InSE,
  title={In silico Evolutionary Developmental Neurobiology and the Origin of Natural Language (Abstract)},
  author={E{\"o}rs Szathm{\'a}ry},
  booktitle={AFL},
  year={2008}
}
It is justified to assume that part of our genetic endowment contributes to our language skills, yet it is impossible to tell at this moment exactly how genes affect the language faculty. We complement experimental biological studies by an in silico approach in that we simulate the evolution of neuronal networks under selection for language-related skills. At the heart of this project is the Evolutionary Neurogenetic Algorithm (ENGA) that is deliberately biomimetic. The design of the system was… 
Towards an Understanding of Language Origins
TLDR
It is plausible that genes changed in evolution so as to render the human brain more proficient in linguistic processing, and an Evolutionary Neurogenetic Algorithm (ENGA) is reviewed that holds promise that the authors shall ultimately understand how genes can rig the development of cognitively specialised neuronal networks.
Biological Foundations and Origin of Syntax
TLDR
The book defines areas where consensus has been established with regard to the nature, infrastructure, and evolution of the syntax of natural languages; summarizes and evaluates contrasting approaches in areas that remain controversial; and suggests lines for future research to resolve at least some of these disputed issues.
Evolution of Language as One of the Major Evolutionary Transitions
  • E. Szathmáry
  • Biology
    Evolution of Communication and Language in Embodied Agents
  • 2010
TLDR
This chapter gives a summary showing that the transition from early hominine societies with protolanguage to modern society with language indeed qualifies as a major transition.
Emergence of Scale-Free Syntax Networks
TLDR
A previously unreported, sharp transition is shown to occur around two years of age from a (pre-syntactic) tree-like structure to a scale-free, small world syntax network, which introduces a new ingredient to understand the possible biological endowment of human beings which results in the emergence of complex language.
The ontogeny of scale-free syntax networks through language acquisition
TLDR
A previously unreported, sharp transition is shown to occur at ≈ 2 years from a tree-like structure to a scale-free, small world syntax network, suggesting the presence of an innate component pervading the emergence of full syntax.
The Ontogeny of Scale-Free Syntax Networks: Phase Transitions in Early Language Acquisition
TLDR
The first analysis of the emergence of syntax in terms of complex networks is shown to occur around two years of age, showing a nonlinear dynamical pattern where the global topology of syntax graphs shifts from a hierarchical, tree-like pattern, to a scale-free organization.

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