Projects in Previous Years

1st Semester 2016/17: Language & Games

Thomas Brochhagen and Robert van Rooij
If you are interested in this project, please contact the instructor by email ({t.s.brochhagen, r.a.m.vanrooij}
Game theoretic models have found diverse applications in linguistics. These range from rational (probabilistic) language use and language evolution up to language emergence and the establishment of conventions. The goal of this project is to give an overview of these areas and to provide students with the necessary background to conduct their own inquiries in an area of their interest. For more information watch this video.

We will look at language from two different, though related, points of view: (i) the negotiation of language meaning in particular discourses using standard game theory, and (ii) the evolution of meaning using evolutionary game theory. As for (i) we will motivate Gricean principles of language use, and for (ii) we will investigate how some particular features of natural languages can evolve within and across populations under consideration of linguistic pressures such as learnability and expressivity.

The project is organized in two parts. The first part will consist of lectures starting January 16th/17th. The second part will be spent on individual or group (sub)projects on a chosen topic.
There are no specific prerequisites.
In order to pass, students should attend the lectures and hand in a final report. The latter can be of manifold nature: from philosophical assessments of methods or phenomena, design of experiments to test model predictions on human behavior, to simulation results or mathematical characterizations of particular dynamics or phenomena.