Sunday, November 7, 2010

CFP: Advances in Biolinguistics (SLE 44, preliminary)

CALL FOR PAPERS: Advances in Biolinguistics
WORKSHOP DATES: 10–11 September 2011
LOCATION: Logroño (La Rioja), Spain
CFP DEADLINE: 14 November 2010

Contact Person: Kleanthes Grohmann (

Biolinguistics is concerned with exploring the basic properties of the language faculty, how it matures in the individual, how it is put to use in thought and action (including communication), what brain circuits may implement it, and how it emerged in the human species. In asking these questions, biolinguists try to determine which components of the brain are unique to language, as opposed to shared with other cognitive domains such as music and mathematics, and especially those that also seem unique to humans. If, as seems reasonable to suppose, our linguistic capacity is both uniquely human and, in part, uniquely comprised of language-specific mechanisms, significant conceptual and empirical issues arise concerning its evolution, form, maturation, and function.

We encourage submissions of abstracts that touch on any of the issues listed above, or any other that contributes to our understanding of the biological foundations of the language faculty. Of special interest are contributions that bring biological considerations to bear on linguistic theorizing.

Advances in Biolinguistics is a workshop intended for the 44th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea ( Since we will need to submit a proposal with a preliminary list of speakers by November 15, we need preliminary titles and mini-abstracts (3-5 sentences) from potentially interested participants. The deadline for these is Sunday, November 14, 2010. Please note that expressing an interest in participation by sending us a title and mini-abstract is not binding. The final deadline for regular abstracts, to be submitted via the conference site, is January 15, 2011. We will send interested participants a reminder about this, and we will of course also let them know, by mid-December, whether the workshop was accepted.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Podcast: WNYC Radiolab on Words

The August 9 edition of WNYC Radiolab, which you can find here, has a linguistic theme, and features Elizabeth Spelke. The website summarizes the show as follows:

"It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without words. But in this hour of Radiolab, we try to do just that. We speak to a woman who taught a 27-year-old man the first words of his life, and we hear a firsthand account of what it feels like to have the language center of your brain wiped out by a stroke."

There are more links to earlier language-related episodes and some short videos on that same page.

Conference: GLOW 34

Conference: GLOW 34
April 27 - May 1, 2011
Universität Wien

Topic: It is uncontroversial that language has both a sound and a meaning component. In addition to the latter two, a narrow syntactic component is postulated by linguists. But is narrow syntax a real, empirically identifiable subcomponent of the human ability to use language in the most general sense, or is it merely an analytical artifact? Are there principled grounds for separating ”Merge” from prosody, implicature, presupposition, parsing, functional structure, the lexicon, morphology, phonology, stylistic movement, and binding theory? While there are various conceptual lines of reasoning to adopt a position on these issues, this position must always be backed up by empirical evidence. Are there mechanisms in the sound and meaning components that achieve the same results as Merge? And, if so, do they require an extra level of quasi-syntactic processes to achieve them? What do we know about how narrow syntax interfaces with these other systems? Abstracts relating to these questions but not limited to them are invited for presentation at GLOW34. The questions should not only be addressed from the viewpoint of syntax, or current syntactic theories, but should also be addressed from within phonology, morphology, semantics and pragmatics, vis-a-vis-syntax, as well as by psycho-linguistics.

Call for papers (due Nov. 1) here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Conference: Graduate Workshop on Biolinguistics

Conference: Graduate Workshop on Biolinguistics at ConSOLE XIX
University of Groningen
January 5, 2011

Associated with ConSOLE XIX, a workshop on biolinguistics will be held at the University of Groningen on January 5th, 2011. The biolinguistics research area focuses on the biology and evolution of language and aims to understand the unique ability and origin of human language.

Call For Papers (due September 13) here.
Graduate students not having defended a Ph.D. in Linguistics by September 13th are invited to submit abstracts relating to the topic of biolinguistics. The call is open to any subfield relevant to this matter, from theoretical linguistics to more applied research areas such as language acquisition and neurolinguistics.

Conference: Donostia Workshop on Neurobilingualism

Conference: Donostia Workshop on Neurobilingualism
Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, & Language - San Sebastián
September 30 - October 2, 2010

Invited Speakers
* Laura-Ann Petitto. University of Toronto, Canada
* Agnes Kovacs. Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary.
* Michael Dorman. Arizona State University, USA.
* Jonathan Grainger. CNRS and University of Provence, France.
* Douglas Davidson. BCBL, Spain.
* Nuria Sebastian. Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain.

* Guillaume Thierry. Bangor University. UK.
* Nuria Sebastian. Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain

Call for papers (due June 15) here.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Language Design

Hi from Montréal, reporting to you (almost-)live from the Language Design conference. The Biolinguistics team was well-represented at this exciting event, with both editors, three advisory board members, and about a half dozen editorial board members in attendance. Thank you to the organizers at UQAM, especially fearless leader Anna Maria Di Sciullo, for bringing together a very interesting group of linguists, biologists, and others to address a wide variety of topics. For me personally, notable highlights included Richard Palmer's talk on morphological asymmetries in animals & plants as well as Partha Mitra's on zebra finch song.

It looks like next year's Biolinguistics Network conference will be in Milan, with the theme of "language and the brain." Start thinking of abstracts now; you won't want to miss this one!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Seyfarth videos

Here are a couple of videos of Robert Seyfarth talking about vervet monkey calls and theory of mind:

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chomsky in Stuttgart

A video of Noam Chomsky's lecture "Restricting stipulations: consequences and challenges" at Universität Stuttgart on March 24 is now available online. (The website is in German; a direct link to download the video is here.)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Linguistics @ Cyprus

Here a quick post, on a more or less personal note. Even though we may be far away from a lot of places, Cyprus does have a growing (bio)linguistic community. Here are just three interesting events:

LOT 1 (international postgraduate student conference):
GACL 4 (forget the acronym):
LDG 3 (Language Disorders in Greek):

If any BIOLINGUISTICS BLOG reader is interested in participating, and even giving a paper, please send me a quick email! LOT 1 and LDG 3 don't have much of a "website" and GACL 4's is basic (should I say "crappy"?), but there you are. Naama Friedmann, Theo Marinis, Alex Perovic, and Ken Wexler, all in two days, and Sonja Eisenbeiss, Tom McFadden, Peter Patrick, and Barbara Lust in three days a month earlier is no small feat by anyone's reckoning.

These events are, of course, to some extent pushed by the recently formed Cyprus Acquisition Team (CAT) and the new Gen-CHILD Project we were awarded. (Both sites are also still in development.)

We can organize crash space and try to keep all other costs low if anyone's interested in coming out here!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Conference on Language, Nature, & Cognition at VSSoL

Conference on Language, Nature, and Cognition at the Verbum Summer School of Linguistics
July 16-17, 2010 in Vigo, Galicia, Spain.

Abstracts are invited for presentation at the Verbum Summer School of Linguistics (VSSoL) Conference on Language, Nature, and Cognition, on any aspect of theoretical linguistics, experimental linguistics, and biolinguistics. There will also be a poster session.

Invited speakers are Juan Uriagereka (University of Maryland) and Manuel Carreiras (Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language).

Call for papers (due May 21, 2010): here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Conference: Understanding language: Forty years down the garden path

Organized by the university of the Basque Country / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea

Conference site: Palacio Miramar - Donostia / San Sebastián

The conference takes as a starting point the famous garden path sentence The horse raced past the barn fell, appeared forty years ago in the seminal paper “The Cognitive Basis of Linguistics Structures” by Thomas G. Bever, one of the founders of the field of language processing. This meeting brings together some of the most outstanding researchers in the field, to discuss current frontiers in our understanding of language within cognitive science, and to assess the progress made during these four decades of research in language processing.


Monday, June 28th

9:00 Welcome and Presentation: Itziar Laka, Montserrat Sanz and Pello Salaburu

9:15-10:00 Mike Tanenhaus, University of Rochester
Introduction to the course. On the Cognitive Basis of Linguistic Structures: Themes that have endured.

SESSION 1. The crosslinguistic brain and language
Chair: Itziar Laka, University of the Basque Country

10:00-11:00 Jacques Mehler SISSA-ISAS CNS, Trieste, Italy.
Languages in the infant brain

11:00-12:00 Manuel Carreiras, Basque Center on Brain, Cognition and Language
Mechanisms of Agreement

12:00-12:30 BREAK

12:30-13:30 Inna Bornkessel, University of Mamberg, Germany
Neurotypology: Modelling cross-linguistic similarities and differences in the neurocognition of language comprehension

13:30-14:30 Yosef Grodzinsky McGuill University, USA
Changing perspectives on the functional role of some language regions in the brain

14:30-16:30 LUNCH

The Crosslinguistic Brain and Language
Theme discussant: Douglass Saddy
Participants: Tanenhaus, Mehler, Carreiras, Grodzinsky

Tuesday June 29th

SESSION 2. The evolution of language and language universals
Chair: Pello Salaburu, University of the Basque Country

10:00-11:00 Massimo Piattelli Palmarini, University of Arizona, USA
Comprehension, production and linearization in a new evolutionary perspective

11:00-12:00 Robert Berwick, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Three Models for the Description of Language Complexity

12:00-12:30 BREAK

12:30-13:30 Douglass Saddy, University of Reading, UK
Measuring language universals in the brain

13:30-14:30 Thomas Bever, University of Arizona, USA
Where do Linguistic Universals come from?

14:30-16:30 LUNCH

The Evolution of Language and Language Universals
Theme discussant: Colin Phillips
Participants: Piatelli-Palmarini, Berwick, Saddy, Stabler and Bever.

Wednesday, June 30th

SESSION 3. The relations between language production and perception
Chair of the session: José Manuel Igoa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

9:00:10:00 Maryellen C. MacDonald, University of Wisconsin-Madison,USA
The Production Basis of Language Comprehension: Evidence from Relative Clauses

10:00-11:00 Gary Dell, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Implicit learning in the language production system is revealed in speech errors

11:00-12:00 Luciano Fadiga, Italian Institute of Technology, U. Ferrara, Italy
From Action to Language: Evidence and Speculations

12:00-12:30 BREAK

12:30-13:30 William Idsardi, University of Maryland, USA
Statistical generalizations in language behaviors

13:30-14:30 Edward Gibson, Massachusetts Institute of technology, USA
Language above the word: Quantitative investigations of syntactic representations and processes

14:30-16:30 LUNCH

The Relations between Language Production and Perception
Theme discussant: Thomas Bever
Participants: MacDonald, Dell, Fadiga, Kotz, Gibson

Thursday, July 1st

SESSION 4. The garden path today - comprehension models
Chair: Montserrat Sanz

9:00-10:00 Sonia Kotz, Max Planck Institute for Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Germany
Syntactic ambiguities: from linguistic structure to brain correlates

10:00-11:00 Michael Tanenhaus University of Rochester, USA
On the mechanisms underlying real-time language comprehension

11:00-12:00 Gerry Altmann, University of York, UK
Anticipating the garden path: the horse raced past the barn ate the cake

12:00-12:30 BREAK

12:30-13:30 Edward Stabler UCLA, USA
Syntax, semantics and pragmatics in incremental interpretation

13:30-14:30 Colin Phillips, University of Maryland, USA
Grammatical Illusions: Where you see them, where you don't

14:30-16:30 LUNCH

The Garden Path Today- Comprehension Models
Theme discussant: Yosef Grodzinsky
Participants: Kotz, Tanenhaus, Altmann, Idsardi, Phillips

17:30-18:30 Conclusions and predictions for future research
Thomas Bever University of Arizona
Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, University of Arizona

Friday, March 26, 2010

Call for papers: Language as social coordination

Conference: Language as Social Coordination: An Evolutionary Perspective
Warsaw - September 16-18, 2010

[via Evolutionary Linguistics:]
The conference emphasizes the biological nature of language, underscoring its coordinative function. The aim of the conference is to 1) show continuity of natural language with other informational systems in biology; 2) show that language arises from and is crucial for human co-action.

Taking an evolutionary and comparative perspective, will draw attention to the kinds of social coordination that arise without (human-like) language, and that contribute to the background used by (and present in) linguistic communication. By so doing, it will be easier to appreciate the qualitatively different types of co-ordination that are specific to humans and language-dependent. The evolutionary perspective will help with coming to view language as a natural phenomenon, continuous with other 'informational' systems at various levels of biological organization, that serve not only vertical (inter-generational) transmission of structure but also horizontal coordination both within and between organisms.

Invited Speakers:
- John Collier, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban
- Terrence Deacon, University of California at Berkeley
- Merlin Donald, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
- Don Favareau, National University of Singapore
- Carol Fowler, Haskins Laboratories, Yale University and University of Connecticut
- Bruno Galantucci, Yeshiva University
- Don Ross, University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of Cape Town
- Colwyn Trevarthen, University of Edinburgh

Call for Papers (due April 30): here

Monday, March 22, 2010


Fourth North American Summer School in Logic, Language, and Information
June 20-26, 2010 - Bloomington, IN
now open for registration:

The call for participation reads:
"The North American Summer School in Logic, Language, and Information (NASSLLI) is a summer school with classes in the interface between computer science, linguistics, and logic.

After previous editions at Stanford University, Indiana University, and UCLA, NASSLLI will return to Bloomington, Indiana, June 20–26, 2010. The summer school, loosely modeled on the long-running ESSLLI series in Europe, will consist of a number of courses and workshops, selected on the basis of the proposals. Courses and workshops meet for 90 or 120 minutes on each of five days, June 21–25, and there will be tutorials on June 20 and a day-long workshop on June 26. The instructors are prominent researchers who volunteer their time and energy to present basic work in their disciplines. Many are coming from Europe just to teach at NASSLLI.

NASSLLI courses are aimed at graduate students and advanced undergraduates in wide variety of fields. The instructors know that people will be attending from a wide range of disciplines, and they all are pleased to be associated with an interdisciplinary school. The courses will also appeal to post-docs and researchers in all of the relevant fields.

We hope to have 100-150 participants. In addition to classes in the daytime, the evenings will have social events and plenary lectures. Bloomington is a wonderful place to visit, known for arts, music, and ethnic restaurants. All of this is within 15 minutes walking from campus. We aim to make NASSLLI fun and exciting."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Call for papers: LSA 2011 Organized Session on Biolinguistics

In conjunction with the LSA Special Interest Group on Biolinguistics, we invite the submission of abstracts for a proposed Organized Session on Biolinguistics at the 2011 LSA Annual Meeting (Pittsburgh, January 6-9). The goal of biolinguistics is to explore theories of language that are biologically plausible as part of an effort to explain how the faculty of language arises ontogenetically and phylogenetically. We invite abstracts on any aspect of the biolinguistic enterprise, keeping in mind that the Special Interest Group on Biolinguistics was founded in part to “contribute to the field by helping to identify what makes biolinguistics ‘bio’ (and ‘linguistic’), initiate discussions on how it differs from previous models of generative grammar (and how it doesn’t), debate whether generative grammar is actually a prerequisite… and so on.”

Abstracts should be between 200-500 words and need not be anonymous. (The LSA reviews Organized Session proposals non-anonymously.) Please, no more than one single-authored and one joint-authored abstract per person. All participants are required to be LSA members. However, anyone may submit an abstract, so long as they join the LSA if they ultimately present.

We plan to have a symposium format, so if you are interested in being a discussant, please also let us know by April 15.

Abstracts are due April 15, 2010.

Please send abstracts, preferably in .PDF format, to:

Kleanthes Grohmann –

Bridget Samuels -

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Call for papers: NAPhC 6

Conference: 6th North American Phonology Conference
Montréal, April 30-May 2, 2010

Theme: A celebration of the 51st anniversary of the publication of The Sound Pattern of Russian.

Morris Halle's (1959) The Sound Pattern of Russian (SPR) proposes 6 formal conditions that a phonological theory should fulfill, paraphrased as follows:

Condition 1: Phonological representations consist of segments and boundaries.

Condition 2: The phonetic properties of segments are characterized by a set of binary distinctive features.

Condition 3: A phonological description of a language must provide a deterministic algorithm for mapping from an input representation (containing only phonological information) to an output representation.

Condition 4: The phonology must interface with other modules of grammar, such as syntax.

Condition 5: In phonological representations the number of specified features is consistently reduced to a minimum compatible with satisfying Conditions (3) and (4).

Condition 6: Morphological boundaries have to be eliminated or converted by the phonology.

These six conditions serve as the theme of this year's NAPhC. We invite papers (on any and all languages--not just Russian!) that address issues raised by these conditions and other aspects of SPR. Are these conditions met by current models? Has their acceptance or rejection been sufficiently justified? For example, do Halle's arguments for binarity still hold? Are other arguments available for binarity? Have models that evaluate alignment of, say, syllables and morphemes justified the rejection of Condition 6?

Call for papers (due March 29, 2010) here.

Conference: Language as an evolutionary system

Conference: Language as an evolutionary system: a multidisciplinary approach
Edinburgh, July 12-13, 2010

These two days of talks and discussion will bring together scholars from a range of disciplines to discuss the value of applying evolutionary thinking to the cultural evolution of language as well as the commonalities and differences between various existing applications.

Presentations by: Bill Croft, Tom Griffiths, Alex Mesoudi, Russell Gray, Kenny Smith, Gerhard Jaeger, Monica Tamariz, & Simon Kirby

Conference: PLM 2010 - Competing explanations of language change & variation

Conference: 41st Poznań Linguistic Meeting

Thematic discussion session: Competing explanations of language change and variation

Gniezno, September 23-26, 2010

Plenary: Nikolaus Ritt (Vienna), “Agents or Vehicles? The role of speakers in directing linguistic evolution”

As competing explanations are the leitmotif of PLM 2010, this session will be devoted to explanatory challenges in theories of language change. The discussion workshop will concentrate on the role of linguistic variation and other factors in competing proposals concerning the mechanisms of language change. The focal event of the session will be the plenary talk by Nikolaus Ritt, followed by six oral presentations. We shall welcome abstracts of presentations dealing with the following topics and questions:

  • Why does language change happen at all?
  • Does language change have a direction? Are there “historical laws” governing its progress?
  • Synchronic variation and diachronic change: how are they interrelated?
  • How can we account for the observed tempo of language change and the scale of variation in speech communities?
  • Functional explanations of language change, their adequacy and predictive power.
  • Evolutionary approaches to language change: replication, competition and selection as explanatory notions.
  • Is language a tool designed and controlled by its human users, or does it have a life of its own?
  • Should we expect linguistic structures to be rational?

Call for papers (due March 31, 2010): here

New evolutionary ling site

Check out the new blog at, which so far has some information on upcoming conferences related to the evolution of language. (I am about to post the info which we haven't already mentioned here.) There is also a forum and information about a reading group starting up in Tokyo. The site is being maintained by Luke McCrohon and Pontus Stenetorp of the University of Tokyo. The introduction on the blog reads:

This site is being built to help facilitate the collaborative study of all aspects of Linguistic Evolution. We take this to include not only the study of the biological evolution of the Language faculty, but also the cultural evolution of languages, and the bio-cultural co-evolution of Language as a combined system.

Research in this area cuts across traditional disciplinary boundaries and so will require the collaboration of researchers of from many diverse backgrounds. It is this research we hope to support and so we welcome researchers from all disciplines to to join us on this site. Please feel free to contribute to the comments, on the forums, and join us in person at the events we are planning on organizing.

This site is still is still under development, so please either subscribe to the RSS feed or check back later as we hope to make regular updates over the next few months. In addition to details about the site, we will also be posting information about various events of interest to evolutionary linguistics researchers as we receive them.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Call for papers: Workshop on Computational Neurolinguistics

Conference: Workshop on Computational Neurolinguistics (at NAACL)
Los Angeles - June 5-6, 2010

The first Workshop on Computational Neurolinguistics will be held at NAACL next June in Los Angeles. We welcome submissions on the computational treatment of any aspect of language, that either make use of neural recordings or of biologically realistic neuronal models. To encourage submissions from the broadest community, the organisers are releasing two neural activity datasets, fMRI and EEG, described below. Submissions should be made through the NAACL submission system, with a new extended deadline of March 10th, 2010.

Call for papers (due March 10, 2010): here.

Recently in the headlines

Here's a roundup of some recent bioling-related news items from around the web:

Monday, March 1, 2010

MIT Press Journals Podcasts

I recently became aware of the MIT Press Journals Podcasts page, which has four episodes available so far. (Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the type of podcast that can be subscribed to directly via iTunes.) Of particular interest to biolinguists is Episode 3, a discussion between Jay Keyser and Noam Chomsky. The audio (MP3) is here and the transcript (PDF) is here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

LSA Special Interest Group on Biolinguistics

At the Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting in January 2010, the newly-approved LSA Special Interest Group on Biolinguistics had its first meeting. Below is the text of the founding proposal for the group. We hope to have more news in the coming months about further group activities, including a home page on the LSA website and a presence at the 2011 LSA meeting. If you are interested in being part of this (all LSA members are welcome; it's free), please let one of the founders know.

LSA Special Interest Group on Biolinguistics

We believe that there is an expressed need for the Biolinguistics SIG. With the term being used widely (and often loosely, and with different conceptions by different people, sometimes even negatively) in recent years, it is time that it receive a more graspable shape, an initiative this SIG would like to engage in. The timing is very opportune: In the past couple of years, several initiatives have been formed dedicated to biolinguistics, some even involving one of the co-proposers: the free online journal Biolinguistics (, edited by Kleanthes Grohmann and Cedric Boeckx, which currently has more than 2,500 subscribers and is supported financially by the co-proposer’s institution (University of Cyprus), the Cambridge Handbook of Biolinguistics, currently in preparation (also edited by Kleanthes Grohmann and Cedric Boeckx), the new John Benjamins book series Language Faculty and Beyond (edited by Kleanthes Grohmann and Pierre Pica), the Biolinguistics Initiative Research Group (formed by Cedric Boeckx), and more.

The Biolinguistics SIG will contribute to the field by helping to identify what makes biolinguistics ‘bio’ (and ‘linguistic’), initiate discussions on how it differs from previous models of generative grammar (and how it doesn’t), debate whether generative grammar is actually a prerequisite (arguably to be answered in the negative), and so on. This focus obviously sets the Biolinguistics SIG apart from other entities of the LSA.

The co-proposers of the Biolinguistics SIG are Dr. Kleanthes Grohmann, a tenured Associate Professor from the University of Cyprus and LSA member since 1997, and Dr. Bridget Samuels, post-doctoral researcher at the University of Maryland and LSA member since 2004:

Kleanthes K. Grohmann (Cyprus)

Bridget Samuels (Maryland)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Suggestions for NLC debate topics

Here's your chance to suggest debate topics for the 2010 Neurobiology of Language Conference -- head over to Talking Brains and make your voice heard!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Internalist Explorations of Meaning

The following are links to the video records of the talks delivered at the interdisciplinary reading group "Internalist Explorations on Meaning," held in Fall 2007 and organized by Dennis Ott (Harvard University).

In this talk, delivered at Harvard University on October 4th 2007, one of the major proponents of semantic externalism revisits the subject matter of his 1975 paper "The Meaning Of 'Meaning'," extending and updating his views about the nature of meaning and why it "ain't in the head."

In this talk, delivered at Harvard University on October 30th 2007, the most eminent linguist of modern times argues for a strictly internalist treatment of questions of natural-language meaning. Chomsky discusses externalist approaches of Putnam, Kripke and others who hold that crucial aspects of meaning rely on the nature of an independently given external world. This cherished tenet of philosophy of language, Chomsky argues, has things backwards: dropping unwarranted metaphysical assumptions, we find that the internal language system is purely syntactic and hence "in the head", as a part of the "cognoscitive powers" that construct the organism's Umwelt.

In this talk, delivered at Harvard University on November 13th 2007, Ray Jackendoff elaborates on his internalist approach to the study of meaning, called Conceptual Semantics. According to Jackendoff, it is necessary for semanticists to study not language in isolation, but conceptual structure ("thought"), the domain-general medium of mental representation.

In this talk, delivered at Harvard University on November 20th 2007, Juan Uriagereka seeks to answer the question how much of natural-language meaning is rooted in syntactic properties of the Language Faculty. Uriagereka argues for a multi-dimensional syntax that provides "spaces" of meaning, from which well-known semantic hierarchies are derived.

Delivered at Harvard University on December 13th 2007.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Welcome, everyone!

One of the many changes to the Biolinguistics journal for 2010 is the addition of this blog. We will be posting a variety of material pertaining to the field of biolinguistics. You can follow us @biolinguistics on Twitter (we will tweet when the blog is updated) or subscribe to our RSS feed, and we hope that you will also find our Google Calendar with upcoming biolinguistic events useful.

-Bridget Samuels, Hiroki Narita, & Txuss Martin

Summer Institute in Cognitive Sciences, "The Origins of Language" @UQAM, June 21-30 2010

Theme of the Summer Institute: The Origins of Language

Dates: June 21st to 30th 2010



Participating disciplines:

- Anthropology

- Archaeology

- Computer Sciences

- Linguistics

- Neurosciences

- Paleontology

- Philosophy

- Psychology

- Zoology

Language: Due to its international character, the Summer Institute will be held entirely in English.

The Institute is intended for:

- graduate and post-graduate students from the participating disciplines,

- faculty members, scholars, engineers, and professionals from these disciplines.

Academic activities: Contents will be presented through lectures, group discussions, and poster sessions.

Materials: All participants will receive the following:

- a summary of each lecture,

- a course package of complementary articles for each of the lectures.

Call for papers: Neurobiology of Language Conference

Conference: Neurobiology of Language
San Diego - November 11-12, 2010

The second Neurobiology of Language Meeting will be held in San Diego, California, on Nov. 11-12, 2010, as a satellite of the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Topics will relate to the neural mechanisms underlying perceptual, cognitive, motor, and linguistic processes used to produce and to understand language in both children and adults. The conference will feature poster and slide presentations as well as keynote presentations by several of the field’s most distinguished researchers.

NLC 2010 will provide a unique opportunity to bring together researchers across a broad spectrum of techniques and disciplines, who rarely, if ever, attend the same meetings. A primarly goal is to foster interaction, collaboration, and new approaches to understanding the neurobiology of language. The symposium will provide a platform for the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas among researchers whose complementary interests provide an important foundation for issues related to the neurobiology of language, allowing for the emergence of a greater common understanding of the topic as a whole. Younger scientists are encouraged to attend and meet more established scientists in the field.

Call for papers (due June 1): here.

A special lecture on generative grammar by Cedric Boeckx, Kyoto, March 12, 2010

A Special Lecture on Generative Grammar


Cedric Boeckx

“A Theory of Fundamental Syntactic Categories”

Time & Date: 14:30-17:30, March 12th (Fri), 2010

Location: Kyoto Campus Plaza, Lecture Hall 1 (5F)


As Baker 2003 correctly observes, we still lack a good theory of linguistic

categories. Most proposals are based on parochial features, and lack

explanatory depths. In this talk I argue in favor of a more syntactic/dynamic

theory of categories, as part of a research program that I am involved in and

that seeks to minimize the appeal to (ad hoc) features. Special emphasis in this

talk will be placed on DP, and why the DP hypothesis is most likely wrong.

Under the joint auspices of JSPS Grant-in-Aid for

Scientific Research (No.21652037) & JAIST-EELC2010




言語の起源と進化の国際セミナー JAIST-EELC2010の招聘講師として来日するCedric










JAIST International Seminar on the Emergence and Evolution of Linguistic Communication

The source website:


JAIST-EELC2010 is an international seminar on the Emergence and Evolution of Linguistic Communication. It will be held in Kyoto, sponsored by Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology under the joint auspices of the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas "The study on the neural dynamics for understanding communication in terms of complex hetero systems".

10-12 March 2010 inclusive
Campus Plaza Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan
Free to participate

Program (tentative)

3/10 (Wed)

13:00-13:10Opening remarks
13:10-14:40"BioLinguistics: A comparative approach"
Tecumseh Fitch (U Wien)
14:55-16:25"Biolinguistic minimalism and language evolution"
Koji Fujita (Kyoto U)
16:25-16:55Coffee Break
16:55-18:25"Prosody and recursion in primate vocalizations"
Didier Demolin (ULB)

3/11 (Thu)

09:30-11:00"Meaning coordination, semantic construals, and bodily action: implication for language evolution"
Rafael Núñez (UC San Diego)
11:30-13:00"Constructive approach to language evolution"
Takashi Hashimoto (JAIST)
14:30-16:00"The human language faculty evolving"
Cedric Boeckx (ICREA/UAB)
16:30-18:00"Cognitive mechanism of language and cultural evolution"
Yoshihisa Nakamura (Kanazawa U)

3/12 (Fri)

09:30-11:00"Biological preadaptations for language"
Kazuo Okanoya (RIKEN BSI)
11:15-13:15Panel discussion
13:15-13:25Closing remarks