We grow languages: introduction video

By Marieke Schouwstra and Simon Kirby.

In this video, I explain what it means to study the emergence of language in the lab: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU23IAl600g

Here’s the transcript:

S: So… what is this project all about?

M: We’re studying language. Languages have rich structure, lots of rules. We’re interested in how these rules came about. And we do that by observing what people do in the lab when they do our experiments.

S: How does that work, because don’t all the people who come into the lab already have a language?

M: Yes, that’s right, they have a language, but we can make them not use that language by asking them to describe things using only gesture, only their hands and bodies. And when they have conversations with each other in that way, using only gesture, they kind of start building a system together. So, over the next couple of years we will be posting videos about our project, so watch this space.