Complex System View on Natural Language

Author: Olga Kolesnikova

POLIBITS, Vol. 62, pp. 21-32, 2020.

Abstract: The study of complex systems in many sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, economics, psychology, among others, has demonstrated itself as a powerful approach to resolve many hard issues and to contribute to a fuller and more realistic description of various phenomena. As different to other types of systems, complex systems are characterized by such properties as self-organization, emergence, openness, dynamic nature, chaoticity, fractality, catastrophism, nonlinearity, and fuzziness. It turns out that natural language as a system possess many indispensable properties of complex systems, so it can be viewed and studied as a complex adaptive system. We show that the complex system view on natural language is powerful not only to incorporate knowledge of language accumulated by traditional linguistics, but further make significant discoveries on many open issues in phonetics, grammar, lexicon, language origin and evolution, first language acquisition and development, simulating language functionalities by computational models.

Keywords: Adaptive dynamic complex systems, agent-based model, cognitive model, emergence, usage-based grammar

PDF: Complex System View on Natural Language
PDF: Complex System View on Natural Language


See table of contents of POLIBITS 62.