“However, language is not a closed system, as it interacts with cultural, social and environmental factors. So strictly speaking, the second law may not directly apply.”

ah! claude-instant to finish line:
from below:
“However, language is not a closed system, as it interacts with cultural, social and environmental factors. So strictly speaking, the second law may not directly apply.”
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“Here are a few thoughts on how language evolution relates to the second law of thermodynamics:
– On the surface, language evolution does seem to follow an increase in “disorder” or diversity over time, similarly to how entropy increases in closed systems according to the second law. As languages split, diverge, and new variants emerge, the overall diversity or entropy of the language system increases.
– However, language is not a closed system, as it interacts with cultural, social and environmental factors. So strictly speaking, the second law may not directly apply.
– Shannon entropy/diversity indices can be used to measure increases in linguistic diversity over historical time periods. Studies have found entropy generally increases as languages evolve and branch out into daughter languages.
– However, the process is complex with instances of both increasing and decreasing diversity. Some sub-systems of language may increase in order while others decrease.
– Also, linguistic complexity is not purely a function of diversity – order and regularity can also increase in some areas of grammar, vocabulary, etc.
– So in summary, while language evolution displays broad trends of increasing diversity captured by entropy metrics, it may not perfectly parallel the mathematical increase of thermodynamic entropy in closed systems. The open-system nature of language adds complexity compared to physical processes.
So Shannon entropy is a useful concept and tool here, but the analogy to the second law needs to be made cautiously given language involves cultural evolution alongside natural processes. The open nature of language means its evolution differs in important ways from closed thermodynamic systems.”
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