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)

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