Steels, L. and Kaplan, F. Bootstrapping grounded word semantics. In Briscoe, T., editor, Linguistic evolution through language acquisition: formal and computational models, pages 53-74, Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, UK, 2002.

Sony CSL authors: Frédéric Kaplan, Luc Steels


The paper reports on experiments with a population of visually grounded robotic agents capable of bootstrapping their own ontology and shared lexicon without prior design nor other forms of human intervention. The agents do so while playing a particular language game called the guessing game. We show that synonymy and ambiguity arise as emergent properties in the lexicon, due to the situated grounded character of the agent-environment interaction, but that there are also tendencies to dampen them so as to make the language more coherent and thus more optimal from the viewpoints of communicative success, cognitive complexity, and learnability.

Keywords: grounding, semantics, language evolution, Talking Heads


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BibTeX entry

@INCOLLECTION { steels:99g, ADDRESS="Cambridge, UK", AUTHOR="Steels, L. and Kaplan, F.", BOOKTITLE="Linguistic evolution through language acquisition: formal and computational models", EDITOR="Briscoe, T.", PAGES="53--74", PUBLISHER="Cambridge University Press", TITLE="Bootstrapping grounded word semantics", YEAR="2002", }