Helena Gao, John Holland

Paper #: 08-12-048

This paper is based on recent interdisciplinary experimental studies that emphasize the steps in language acquisition during the first few years of life. These steps are characterized as changes in levels of consciousness. The object is to place successive levels of consciousness in a complex adaptive systems (cas) framework, a framework that centers on learning agents that interact via exchanges of signals such as gestures and utterances. The cas framework thus provides a strong emphasis on the social nature of language acquisition and evolution. The models described are exploratory, not predictive. As such, the models are meant to suggest new mechanisms and experiments that will increase our understanding of language.