Emergence of the Split Goal Marking System in a Population of Simulated Agents

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Ponrawee Prasertsom
Attapol T. Rutherford


Languages generally prefer not to employ overt marking on motion endpoints (Goals), with this tendency being most significant for toponyms. An earlier attempt to explain this fact is incompatible with research in corpus linguistics. This paper has two aims: 1) to provide a more plausible explanation and 2) to test its validity. The explanation provided here appeals to economy: humans’ desire for minimal production and comprehension effort. Its validity was tested and confirmed using agent-based modelling. The results show the contribution of each condition and its effects on the dynamics of language users’ convergence on a shared marking system. Furthermore, they suggest that the current explanation may need to be amended to include another necessary condition: that language users predominantly infer the role of a zero-marked noun from overall, as opposed to verb-specific, frequency distribution of motion roles.


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Prasertsom, P., & T. Rutherford, A. (2021). Emergence of the Split Goal Marking System in a Population of Simulated Agents. Language and Linguistics, 39(2), 156-184. Retrieved from https://so04.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/joling/article/view/245405
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