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Modelling the Evolution of Creoles
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication. (Matematik/tillämpad matematik)
Stockholms universitet, Stockholm University.
Stockholms universitet, Stockholm University.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Various theories have been proposed regarding the origin of creole languages. Describing a process where only the end result is documented involves dealing with several methodological difficulties. In this paper we try to deal with some of the issues by using a novel mathematical model together with detailed empirical data on the origin and structure of Mauritian Creole. Our main focus is on whetherMauritian Creole may have been created only from a mutual desire to communicate, without a target language or prestige bias. Our conclusions are affirmative. With a confirmation bias towards learning from successful communication, the model predicts Mauritian Creole better than any of the input languages, including the lexifier French, thus providing a compelling and specific hypothetical model of how creoles are created. The results also show that it may be possible for a creole to develop quickly after first contact, and that it was created mostly from material found in the input languages, but without inheriting their morphology.

National Category
Other Mathematics General Language Studies and Linguistics Specific Languages
Research subject
Mathematics/Applied Mathematics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-16505OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-16505DiVA: diva2:578988
Available from: 2012-12-19 Created: 2012-12-10 Last updated: 2013-01-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Modelling Two-Person Interactions Within and Between Cultural Groups
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Modelling Two-Person Interactions Within and Between Cultural Groups
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The groups with which we associate influence our actions. This is often the case even when they are not deliberately organised but rather based on social categories, such as sex and skin colour, or cultural homogeneity, such as common language or customs. Group membership can cause widespread phenomena such as ingroup favouritism, polarisation of opinion and competition. Previous experiments have shown that these effects can be triggered by even completely arbitrary distinctions between groups. This thesis uses mathematical models to investigate under what circumstances these phenomena can arise.

Using a game theoretical approach, the first three papers address the evolution of ingroup favouritism. Previous models have focused on the prisoners’ dilemma, interactions where the socially optimal behaviour is to co-operate, but where it is in the individual’s self-interest not to. The results presented here suggest that co-ordination problems may have been more important than those of co-operation in the evolution of an ingroup bias. In particular, this applies to common goals that require trust. It is also demonstrated in a behavioural experiment that such trust is most common within groups, but that it can emerge between groups through group reputation.

The fourth paper focuses on a model on how cultural groups in contact can develop common norms, rather than polarise into different norm groups, by assuming a confirmation bias. The model is empirically tested on demographic and linguistic data from Mauritian Creole, a natural language developed from the mixing of parent languages.

In the fifth paper, the group is defined by common preferences (e.g. for pop songs), which are transmitted in a random copying model. The competitive success of the groups, with respect to their size, is recorded on a toplist, the turnover rate of which is derived.

In the final paper, people match up in pairs between groups according to their preferences, and all stable matchings are found under a specific assumption of bounded rationality, when people’s individual behaviour may be affected by the consequences for fellow group members.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2013
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 136
Keyword
Mathematical modelling, cultural evolution
National Category
Mathematics
Research subject
Mathematics/Applied Mathematics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-16500 (URN)978-91-7485-100-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-02-22, Lambda, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-12-19 Created: 2012-12-10 Last updated: 2015-11-13Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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