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Durham e-Theses
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Linguistic Laws and Compression in a Comparative Perspective: A
Conceptual Review and Phylogenetic Test in Mammals

KANG, TARANDEEP,SINGH (2021) Linguistic Laws and Compression in a Comparative Perspective: A
Conceptual Review and Phylogenetic Test in Mammals.
Unspecified thesis, Durham University.

PDF - Accepted Version


Over the last several decades, the application of “Linguistic Laws” - statistical
regularities underlying the structure of language- to studying human languages has exploded. These ideas, adopted from Information Theory, and quantitative linguistics, have been useful in helping to understand the evolution of the underlying structures of communicative systems. Moreover, since the publication of a seminal article in 2010, the field has taken a comparative approach to assess the degree of similarities and differences underlying the organisation of communication systems across the natural world. In this thesis, I begin by surveying the state of the field as it pertains to the study of linguistic laws and compression in nonhuman animal communication systems. I subsequently identify a number of theoretical and methodological gaps in the current literature and suggest ways in which these might be rectified to strengthen conclusions in future and enable the pursuit of novel theoretical questions. In the second chapter, I undertake a phylogenetically controlled analysis, which aims to demonstrate the extent of conformity to Zipf’s Law of Abbreviation in mammalian vocal repertoires. I test each individual repertoire, and then examine the entire collection of repertoires together. I find mixed evidence of conformity to the Law of Abbreviation, and conclude with some implications of this work, and future directions in which it might be extended.

Item Type:Thesis (Unspecified)
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Psychology, Department of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Mar 2021 15:36

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