Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Momentum in Language Change

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

A Model of Self-Actuating S-shaped Curves

image of Language Dynamics and Change

Like other socially transmitted traits, human languages undergo cultural evolution. While humans can replicate linguistic conventions to a high degree of fidelity, sometimes established conventions get replaced by new variants, with the gradual replacement following the trajectory of an s-shaped curve. Although previous modelling work suggests that only a bias favoring the replication of new linguistic variants can reliably reproduce the dynamics observed in language change, the source of this bias is still debated. In this paper we compare previous accounts with a momentum-based selection account of language change, a replicator-neutral model where the popularity of a variant is modulated by its momentum, i.e. its change in frequency of use in the recent past. We present results from a multi-agent model that are characteristic of language change, in particular by exhibiting spontaneously generated s-shaped transitions that do not require externally triggered actuation. We discuss several empirical questions raised by our model, pertaining to both momentum-based selection as well as other biases and pressures which have been suggested to influence language change.

Affiliations: 1: The University of Edinburgh ; 2: The University of Edinburgh ; 3: The University of Edinburgh ; 4: The University of Edinburgh


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Language Dynamics and Change — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation