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Evolutionary model(s) of ontogeny of linguistic categories : four simulations





Our thesis unifes paradigms of universal darwinism, developmental psycholinguistics and computational linguistics in order to furnish a novel account of language development in human as well as artificial language-acquiring agents. Thesis is preceded by a supplementary volume called "Conceptual Foundations" which presents a so-called "Theory of Intramental Evolution" which postulates that ontogeny of an individual mind can be interpreted and even simulated as a process involving replication, variation and selection of information-encoding cognitive structures. The dissertation itself presents four distinct simulations addressing four distinct problems. Zeroth simulation illustrates how evolutionary optimization could lead to discovery of useful insights concerning the cryptological riddle known as Voynich Manuscript. The first simulation shows how theory of prototypes, vector symbolic architectures and evolutionary optimization can be mutually combined in order to yield a novel supervised machine-learning method. Second simulation uses a similiar approach in order to indicate that evolutionary optimization can discover minimalist and lightweight constellations of part-of-speech taggers. The last simulation targets the "holy grail" of computational linguistics, i.e. the problem of "grammar induction" and shows that the problem can be potentially solved by using an evolutionary strategy able to bridge the gap between subsymbolic realm of vector spaces and symbolic realm of grammar-representing regular expressions.

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