Communication can be accounted for in game-theoretic terms. The meaning game is proposed to formalize intentional communication in which the sender sends a message and the receiver attempts to infer its intended meaning. Using large Japanese and English corpora, the present paper demonstrates that centering theory is derived from a meaning game. This suggests that there are no language-specific rules on referential coherence. More generally speaking, language use seems to employ Pareto-optimal ESSs (evolutionarily stable strategies) of potentially very complex meaning games. There is still much to do before this complexity is elucidated in scientific terms, but game theory provides statistical and analytic means by which to advance the study on semantics and pragmatics of natural languages and other communication modalities.
KeywordsCoherence Nash Cote Weinstein
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