Language as a CS: Emergence & the History of English

Language as a Complex System: Emergence & the History of English English’s unique history as a language, and the way it is currently spoken today is a result of the interaction in the complex system of language. English has changed dramatically since it was first used and all along the way to now. Many words from English are examples of borrowings from French, Old Norse, and Germanic languages. Even now it is changing. If you consider grammar books from grade school, you probably noticed that no one speaks or writes exactly according to those rules.

Cellular Automaton as a Model of Complex Systems and language diffusion

A complex system does not necessarily have to be an animate system to be active. This is shown through the cellular automaton as a model of linguistic diffusion (in Kretzschmar & Juuso, 2014). This reveals that language and the way that people speak is local in nature, as it relates to the larger complex system. We see in the cellular automaton that each cell turns on or off depending on how the other cells behave, thereby pointing out the importance of each neighbor in relationship.

Recommended Reading

Articles and Books

Burkette, Allison. 2012. Parlor Talk: Complexity from a Historical Perspective. American Speech. 87.4

Burkette, Allison. 2016. Language and Material Culture. John Benjamins Studies in Language and Culture.

Ellis, Nick. 2015. Cognitive and Social Aspects of Learning from Usage In T. Cadierno and S.W Eskildsen.(eds) Usage Based Perspectives on Second Language Learning. De Gruyter Mouton.


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