Abstract

This article investigates the problem of how language learners decipher what words mean. In many recent models of language evolution, agents are provided with innate meanings a priori and explicitly transfer them to each other as part of the communication process. By contrast, I investigate how successful communication systems can emerge without innate or transferable meanings, and show that this is dependent on the agents developing highly synchronized conceptual systems. I present experiments with various cognitive, communicative, and environmental factors which affect the likelihood of agents achieving meaning synchronization and demonstrate that an intelligent meaning creation strategy in a clumpy world leads to the highest level of meaning similarity between agents.

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