This paper shows how a society of agents can self-organize a shared vocalization system that is discrete, combinatorial and has a form of primitive phonotactics, starting from holistic inarticulate vocalizations. The originality of the system is that: (1) it does not include any explicit pressure for communication; (2) agents do not possess capabilities of coordinated interactions, in particular they do not play language games; (3) agents possess no specific linguistic capacities; and (4) initially there exists no convention that agents can use. As a consequence, the system shows how a primitive speech code may bootstrap in the absence of a communication system between agents, i.e. before the appearance of language
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