CARTA: Artificial Intelligence and Anthropogeny - The Evolution of Syntax and Pragmatics in a Gradualist Scenario with Eva Wittenberg

5/6/2023; 24 minutes

Pragmatics poses a headache to developers of artificial systems. But how did language evolve to efficiently relay so much pragmatic trickery? Eva Wittenberg presents a new paper that builds on the idea that grammar evolved gradually, and with it, pragmatics. We argue that the simpler a grammar is, the stronger the reliance on pragmatic inferences for many aspects of meaning, including even basic questions such as who did what to whom. As grammars gradually evolve towards more complex systems, these coarse pragmatic inferences give way to pragmatic processes that are different in character: Syntax, semantics, and the lexicon evolve to contain reliable and systematic triggers for highly structured pragmatic phenomena. Our account thus links a gradualist scenario of the evolution of syntax that triggers distinct qualitative processes in pragmatic reasoning. (#38685)

Like what you learn?

Donate to UCSD-TV to support informative & inspiring programming.

Links & Resources

More Programs With


Subscribe to receive email notifications about featured videos.
(c)2020 Regents of the University of California. All right reserved. Terms and Conditions of Use.