Postgraduate Course: Simulating Language (LASC11113)
|School||School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||In this course, we will build and run experiments with very simple models that nevertheless cast light on a wide range of puzzles - from how we learn word meanings, to how the language faculty evolves. Each of these models will build on the previous ones and at each step we will relate the practical work we are doing with the existing literature on simulating language, as well as broader issues in the scientific understanding of language development, and the origins and ongoing evolution of language.
The study of the origins and evolution of language has seen a resurgence of interest in recent years. Part of the reason for this has been the application of new techniques from computer modelling to test out different hypotheses about how language is learned and evolves. This allows researchers to run experiments on populations of simulated individuals, essentially rerunning competing proposed scenarios for the evolution of language.
In this course, we will build and run experiments with very simple models that nevertheless cast light on a wide range of puzzles - from how we learn word meanings, to how the language faculty evolves. Each of these models will build on the previous ones and at each step we will relate the practical work we are doing with the existing literature on simulating language, as well as broader issues in the scientific understanding of the origins and ongoing evolution of language.
This course will be suitable for anyone interested in the dynamic processes underpinning language, including individual learning, cultural transmission, and biological evolution. It will involve a mix of practical work and lectures.
Experience of programming (using any language) would be an advantage, but is not a prerequisite. Students will be shown how to modify pre-existing simulation models (written using Python notebooks), and in the process learn the skills to eventually run their own simulation experiments.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 53,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Assignment 1: 30%
Assignment 2: 70%
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Critically assess research papers that use modelling techniques
- Demonstrate an understanding of those aspects of evolutionary linguistics in which modelling has played a part
- Demonstrate an understanding of multi-agent simulation, and Bayesian models of learning
- 4. Run and analyse computer simulation experiments in order to test hypotheses about language learning, and the cultural and biological evolution of linguistic behaviour
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Keywords||origins and evolution of language,communication,modelling
|Course organiser||Prof Simon Kirby
Tel: (0131 6)50 3494
|Course secretary||Ms Sasha Wood