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ERIC Number: EJ864018
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 145
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0023-8333
Language Is a Complex Adaptive System: Position Paper
Beckner, Clay; Blythe, Richard; Bybee, Joan; Christiansen, Morten H.; Croft, William; Ellis, Nick C.; Holland, John; Ke, Jinyun; Larsen-Freeman, Diane; Schoenemann, Tom
Language Learning, v59 ns1 p1-26 Dec 2009
Language has a fundamentally social function. Processes of human interaction along with domain-general cognitive processes shape the structure and knowledge of language. Recent research in the cognitive sciences has demonstrated that patterns of use strongly affect how language is acquired, is used, and changes. These processes are not independent of one another but are facets of the same "complex adaptive system" (CAS). Language as a CAS involves the following key features: The system consists of multiple agents (the speakers in the speech community) interacting with one another. The system is adaptive; that is, speakers' behavior is based on their past interactions, and current and past interactions together feed forward into future behavior. A speaker's behavior is the consequence of competing factors ranging from perceptual constraints to social motivations. The structures of language emerge from interrelated patterns of experience, social interaction, and cognitive mechanisms. The CAS approach reveals commonalities in many areas of language research, including first and second language acquisition, historical linguistics, psycholinguistics, language evolution, and computational modeling.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail: cs-journals@wiley.com; Web site: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A