Modeling Social-Structure Driven Language Change by Nicholas Gardner ’19, Monday, April 1, 1 – 1:45 pm, Stetson Court Classroom 101, Mathematics Colloquium
Abstract: Through time, grammars and ways of constructing language gain and lose relevancy. What forces set these shifts in motion, and how can we reasonably understand what feels like a random process of language evolution? Centering the talk on the work of Garret Mitchener at the College of Charleston, I walk through a mathematical model that suggests such movement between grammars—linguistic change in a population—is a result of young learners social predictions of what grammar’s will be relevant in the future. Mitchener’s model adds stochasticity and longevity to established linguistics modeling techniques to better describe the phenomena without compromising mathematical clarity.