Linguistics and English Language
The University of Edinburgh
Dugald Stewart Building
3 Charles Street
Edinburgh EH8 9AD
I was awarded an MA(Hons) in Linguistics and
Artificial Intelligence from The University of Edinburgh in 2005 and wrote my undergraduate
dissertation on the role of meaning and expressivity within the
iterated learning model of language evolution. This project involved
programming artificial neural networks to learn elements of
structured language, and exploring what happens when the system
evolves only under the pressure to become learnable. I then went on
to obtain an MSc in
Developmental Linguistics as part of a 1+3 studentship from the ESRC. My masters thesis is closely
related to my current work, and can be found here.
My current project revolves around developing an experimental method for examining language learning and evolution in human subjects. This will hopefully open up a new and exciting area of research, providing a testing ground for the predictions made by many modellers and researchers here in Edinburgh, and offer new insights into how language acquisition interfaces with social and population dynamics.
Chapters in Books/Articles in Collections
1) Kirby, S., Smith, K., & Cornish, H. (2008). Language, Learning and Cultural Evolution: how linguistic transmission leads to cumulative adaptation. In R. Cooper and R. Kempson (Eds.), Language in Flux: Dialogue Coordination, Language Variation, Change and Evolution. London: College Publications.
1) Cornish, H., Christiansen, M. H., & Kirby, S. (2010). The Emergence of Structure from Sequence Memory Constraints in Cultural Transmission. EVOLANG8, Utrecht, Netherlands.
2) Matthews, C., Kirby, S., & Cornish, H. (2010). The Cultural Evolution of Language in a World of Continuous Meanings. EVOLANG8, Utrecht, Netherlands.
3) Cornish, H. (2008). An experiment exploring language emergence: how to see the invisible hand and why we should. EVOLANG7, Barcelona, Spain.