April 17, 2018, 11:30 - 13:00
This paper studies how languages are shaped by the cognitive costs that using them involves. We introduce a new continuous approach to characterize the optimal resolution of the tradeoff between the precision of a language and the complexity of the structures it uses, and its dependence on the information the language is used to describe. Notably, when the cost of communication is endogenized using information theory, all words in an optimal language are equally precise, and their precision is independent of the distribution of states.
Economics building (504), faculty lounge on the first floor