Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Social dynamics

Emergence of language

Our social behaviour has evolved primarily through contact with a limited number of other individuals. Yet as a species we exhibit uniformities on a global scale. This kind of emergent behaviour is familiar territory for statistical physicists.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Statistical Physics of Social Dynamics: Opinions, Semiotic Dynamics, and Language;

  2. 2

    Axelrod, R. The Evolution of Cooperation (Basic Books, New York, 1984).

    MATH  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Steels, L. Connection Science 17, 213–230 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Yule, U. G. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 213, 21–87 (1925).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Cattuto, C., Loreto, V. & Pietronero, L. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. 104, 1461–1464 (2007).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Loreto, V., Steels, L. Emergence of language. Nature Phys 3, 758–760 (2007).

Download citation

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing