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Modeling Language Dynamics: The Case of Color Naming Systems


Andrea Baronchelli

Professor/a organitzador/a

Alex Arenas


Universitat Politcnica de Catalunya


16-11-2011 12:00


The study of color naming patterns provides crucial insights into the nature of language dynamics. Color systems vary in fact hugely over different populations and shift their meaning in time but nonetheless they exhibit universal properties shared across different languages. Here we address these issues in the framework of a numerical model describing a population of communicating agents that face a continuum environment (as it is the case for color categorization). After a gentle introduction to the problem, we show (i) that purely cultural interactions are able to trigger the emergence of a shared categorization system [1], (ii) that linguistic interaction can induce universal patterns in categorization provided that human perceptive system is taken into account [2] and (iii) that in the framework of the model the emerging asymptotic categorization corresponds to a metastable state where global shifts are always possible but become progressively more unlikely [3]. We point out that this aging mechanism exhibits striking quantitative analogies to what is observed in the statistical physics of glassy systems, and we speculate that this might be a general scenario in language dynamics where shared linguistic structures would not emerge as attractors, but rather as metastable states. References: [1] A. Puglisi, A. Baronchelli and V. Loreto. ?Cultural route to the emergence of linguistic categories?. PNAS 105, 7936 (2008). [2] A. Baronchelli, et al. ?Modeling the emergence universality in color naming patterns?. PNAS 107, 2403 (2010). [3] A. Mukherjee, et al. ?Aging in language dynamics?. PLoS ONE 6(2): e16677 (2011)


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