Language is too complex to explain with a single formalism
Svetlana T.davidova
May 2022

Evolutionary linguistics explains the existence of language from two competing perspectives. On the one hand it is envisioned as an evolutionary process of variation and selection resulting in the formation of a Language Faculty, by some, and as cultural evolution in the formation of languages by others. The competing alternative view evokes the Chaos theory and the concept of self-organization in either biological context, explaining the formation of a Language Faculty by self-organization of neurons, or in language systems as the formation of sociolects and idiolects. The present article argues that both evolutionary principles and self-organization interact at every step in an entangled interdependence in the formation and functioning of language and languages, which makes the individual participation of each difficult to pinpoint and estimate, suggesting that the evolution of language is better understood by treating the two formalisms as two interacting partners, not as alternatives.
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Reference: lingbuzz/006613
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keywords: self-organization, language faculty, co-evolution, complexity, idiolect, sociolect, semantics, syntax
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