Adam Smith's Rational Choice Linguistics

Posted: 28 Jun 1998


Adam Smith offers an account, based on rational choice considerations, of the grammatical change experienced by languages when adults attempt to communicate across languages in such a way as to minimize transactions costs. His model predicts what is known to linguists as a "pidgin," a language learned by adults in which to make trades. His model can be extended to predict the grammatical trajectory toward pidgin experienced by dying languages.

JEL Classification: A1, B3

Suggested Citation

Levy, David Milton, Adam Smith's Rational Choice Linguistics. Available at SSRN:

David Milton Levy (Contact Author)

George Mason University ( email )

Carow Hall
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-2319 (Phone)

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