The Linguistic Review
Editor-in-Chief: van der Hulst, Harry
IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.558
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.813
CiteScore 2017: 0.56
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.403
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.876
Ambiguity and the origins of syntax
The paper argues that syntax is motivated by the need to avoid combinatorial search in parsing and semantic ambiguity in interpretation. It reports on a case study for the emergence and sharing of first-order phrase structures in a population of agents playing language games. First-order phrase structures combine words into phrases but do not yet generalise to hierarchical or recursive phrases. To study why human languages exhibit phrase structure, a series of strategies for creating and sharing linguistic conventions are examined, starting from a lexical strategy without syntax and then studying the use of groups, n-grams and patterns. Each time we show in which way a strategy improves on the computational complexity of the previous on.
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