Co-Evolution of Syntax and Semantics (CESS)


This project proposes models of language emergence that use software agents and robots. The main goal of the project is the study the emergence of grammar, i.e., the transition from a communication mode based on unstructured messages ("protolanguage") towards a communication mode ruled by syntax. We will thus study the influence on syntax of the agents¹ semantic capacities, more precisely the emergence of an argument structure around which are organized the open class words as well as the closed class or function words. Regarding the structure of noun phrases, this will enable us to study the designation of object by agents, and apply it in a model of creolization model. We will also study the implementation of these capacities in a neural network that detects the abstract structure of messages. Finally, our project seeks also to promote agent-based modeling though the organization of workshops and the edition of a handbook to the field.


  • Prof. Dr. Luc Steels
  • Joris Van Looveren
  • Jelle Zuidema


  • Sony Computer Science Laboratory (Paris)
  • Department of Cognitive Science, UCSD (San Diego, CA)
  • Institut des Sciences Cognitives, CNRS UPR 9075 (Lyon)
  • Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, VUB (Brussels)
  • Laboratoire de Linguistique Formelle, CNRS URA 1028 (Paris)
Involved members: