Semantic universals are properties of meaning shared by the languages of the world. We offer an explanation of the presence of such universals by measuring simplicity in terms of ease of learning, showing that expressions satisfying universals are simpler than those that do not according to this criterion. We measure ease of learning using tools from machine learning and analyze universals in a domain of function words (quantifiers) and content words (color terms). Our results provide strong evidence that semantic universals across both function and content words reflect simplicity as measured by ease of learning.

Ease of learning explains semantic universals / Steinert-Threlkeld, Shane; Szymanik, Jakub. - In: COGNITION. - ISSN 0010-0277. - 195:(2020), pp. 10407601-10407610. [10.1016/j.cognition.2019.104076]

Ease of learning explains semantic universals

Szymanik, Jakub
2020-01-01

Abstract

Semantic universals are properties of meaning shared by the languages of the world. We offer an explanation of the presence of such universals by measuring simplicity in terms of ease of learning, showing that expressions satisfying universals are simpler than those that do not according to this criterion. We measure ease of learning using tools from machine learning and analyze universals in a domain of function words (quantifiers) and content words (color terms). Our results provide strong evidence that semantic universals across both function and content words reflect simplicity as measured by ease of learning.
2020
Steinert-Threlkeld, Shane; Szymanik, Jakub
Ease of learning explains semantic universals / Steinert-Threlkeld, Shane; Szymanik, Jakub. - In: COGNITION. - ISSN 0010-0277. - 195:(2020), pp. 10407601-10407610. [10.1016/j.cognition.2019.104076]
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
1-s2.0-S0010027719302495-main.pdf

Solo gestori archivio

Tipologia: Versione editoriale (Publisher’s layout)
Licenza: Tutti i diritti riservati (All rights reserved)
Dimensione 4.65 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
4.65 MB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/364229
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 7
  • Scopus 24
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 17
social impact