Language as Mechanisms for Interaction: Towards an Evolutionary Tale

  • Ruth Kempson
  • Eleni GregoromichelakiEmail author
  • Christine Howes
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11456)


In this paper we present a view of natural language (NL) grammars compatible with enactive approaches to cognition. This perspective aims to directly model the group-forming properties of NL interactions. Firstly, NL communication is not taken as underpinned by convergence/common ground but modelled as the employment of flexible procedures enabling creative joint activities without overarching common goals. On this basis, we argue that a common non-individualistic pattern can be discerned across NL learning, individual and institutional NL change, and evolution. At all levels and stages, modelling of change relies on situated iteration leading to joint establishment and modification of practices. NL learning, change, and even NL emergence can all then be seen in gradualistic terms, with the higher-order organisation that incorporates NL grammars constituting an adaptive interactive system in continuity with the definition of living organisms as modelled in enactive approaches.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Kempson
    • 1
  • Eleni Gregoromichelaki
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Christine Howes
    • 3
  1. 1.King’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Heinrich Heine UniversityDüsseldorfGermany
  3. 3.University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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