On 10/23/2023 Gareth Roberts gave a talk to the Nijmegen Language Evolution and Emergence group (LEE) entitled "The emergence of phonological organization: Evidence from non-linguistic communication games”
Abstract: Phonological inventories seem to exhibit more dispersion than we might expect by chance. Why is this? Some models have accounted for this in terms of parameterized features or markedness constraints, while others have sought to explain it in terms of pressures acting on producers and receivers in interaction. If this is the case, similar patterns should arise in non-linguistic communication systems as well. Here I present experimental work designed to investigate this process in which pairs of participants interactively constructed a novel communication system based on colour. I discuss the effect (and non-effect) of different pressures on the emergence of organization structure, as well as what light this sheds on the interactive construction of signaling systems.