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Session 2 - Anne Reboul: Origin of language and human cognition

This parallel session will be structured around five major issues that arise in the domain of the evolution of language. Abstracts are solicited which address one or more of the following issues:

1. The relevance of the distinction between I-language and E-languages for the question of language evolution. Chomsky introduced a major distinction between I-language (the inner, psychological, knowledge of grammar) and E-languages (the public languages, such as English, French, Italian, Japanese, etc.). E-languages are public by contrast with I-language, which is private. This may mean that there are not one, but two evolutionary stories to be told, one relevant to the evolution of I-language and one relevant to the evolution of E-languages. Additionally, the evolutionary processes involved might be different, e.g., one could be biological while the other one could be cultural. However, the distinction between I-language and E-languages has been largely ignored in the literature on language evolution.

2. The specificity of language(s) as compared to other animal communication systems. Hockett is famous (and widely quoted in most works on language evolution) for having proposed (see Hockett 1960) a list of thirteen essential features of language that supposedly sets it apart from other animal communication systems. However, it has been claimed (see Fitch 2009) that, though the set as a whole is specific to human language, each feature can be found in some animal communication system or other. A major question, given that the whole set seems specific to human language, is whether it is complete and what implications the fact that each feature could be shared with other species has for the field of language evolution.

3. Evolution of language: biological or cultural. When Pinker and Bloom revived the field of language evolution in 1990, their approach was firmly biological. However, nowadays, "social" accounts, emphasizing cultural rather than biological evolution, seem prominent. An important question is whether such social scenarios can entirely do away with biological approaches, given that they seem to rest on notions such as "cooperation", usually understood as "altruistic" in the biological sense (i.e., benefiting to the addressee, but detrimental to the agent). How exactly biological and cultural evolutions interact in such social accounts is a major question.

4. Cognitive vs. social scenarios. While cultural evolution views are squarely social, they nevertheless tend to sneak in some cognition: for instance, Dunbar's defense of his social account, based on the prevalence of gossip in pub conversations, seems to ignore the fact that gossip is contentful and hence necessitates fairly important cognitive (e.g., conceptual) abilities. On the other hand, biological evolution views could be either social (in line with the so-called Machivellian hypothesis on cognition) or cognitive. Disentangling cognitive from social issues, or at least articulating them precisely seems fairly urgent.

5. Biolinguistics. Biolinguistics is a lively field (as shown by the existence of a dedicated ejournal), concerned with the biological underpinnings of language, from brain circuits to evolution, thus covering all fields of linguistics (phonology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics) and looking further towards psycho- and neurolinguistics. It is also concerned with the development of language and with its neuro-developmental as well as neuropsychological deficits.

25.07.2013   10:30-12:30

Chair:

10:30 - 11:30 Anne REBOUL
The social evolution of language and the necessity of implicit communication
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11:30 - 12:00 Philippe SCHLENKER et al.
Dialectal variation in the meanings of Campbell's monkey alarm calls
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12:00 - 12:30 Andrea RAVIGNANI et al.
Dependency sensitivity is not uniquely human: evidence from a New World primate
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25.07.2013   14:00-16:00

Chair:

14:00 - 14:30 Adrien MEGUERDITCHIAN et al.
Social interaction among baboons: issues of coordination and mutual alignment in non-human primates
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14:30 - 15:00 Lluís BARCELÓ-COBLIJN
On Evolution and the codifying properties of communication systems in primates
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15:00 - 15:30 Jeffrey WATUMULL et al.
Comparative evolutionary approaches to I-Language/E-language: On theory and methods
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15:30 - 16:00 Ermenegildo BIDESE et al.
Why generative linguistics does resist the concept of Protolanguage
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25.07.2013   16:30-18:00

Chair:

16:30 - 17:00 Cedric BOECKX
Lexicon, Syntax, and Grammar: Biolinguistic concerns
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17:00 - 17:30 Koji FUJITA
A Merge-only Theory of Human Language Evolution: How Plausible Is It?
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17:30 - 18:00 Rie ASANO
Biolinguistics and Biomusicology: Investigating the evolution of human cognitive systems and their 'humaniqueness'
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25.07.2013   18:30-19:30

Title: -- Poster session --
Chair: -- Poster session --

18:30 - 19:30 Efthymia TSAROUCHA
English Phrasal Verbs: A Case of Metonymy
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18:30 - 19:30 Fusa KATADA
Ludling Acquisition in Williams-Beuren Syndrome and Its Implications to Neuroplasticity for Language Development
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18:30 - 19:30 Hiroyuki NISHINA
The Complexity of the Motion Planning for Actions as Possibly Equivalent to That of Phrase Structure Grammar
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18:30 - 19:30 Karine ABRAHAMYAN et al.
Cognitive word-formation: synchronic and diachronic approaches
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18:30 - 19:30 Katharina ZIPSER
Proto-Language, phrase structure and nominal compounds - which of them fit together?
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18:30 - 19:30 Kumon Kimiaki TOKUMARU
The Digital Language operated by Logical Syllables - Hypotheses for the Origin and Mechanism of Human Language
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18:30 - 19:30 Kumon Kimiaki TOKUMARU et al.
Exploitation of the Both Variable and Constant Regions of Immunoglobulin Molecular Structure for a Concept and Grammar Complex - The Human Consciousness as Immune Networks inside Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) in the Ventricular System (VS) Hypothesis
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18:30 - 19:30 Lívia IVASKÓ
Ostensive inferential communication, epistemic vigilance and the human frontal lobe
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18:30 - 19:30 Masayuki IKE-UCHI
On the Irrelevance of E-languages to the Question of Language Evolution
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18:30 - 19:30 Sławomir WACEWICZ et al.
Language Evolution: Why Hockett's Design Features Are A Non-Starter
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18:30 - 19:30 Thomas ROBERT
Darwin et l'origine du langage, une théorie passionnelle
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18:30 - 19:30 Yvon KEROMNES
Some thoughts, and a few words, on language, cognition and evolution
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26.07.2013   10:30-12:30

Chair:

10:30 - 11:00 Andrea RAVIGNANI et al.
The Role of Quantitative Modeling in Language Evolution
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11:00 - 11:30 Elizabeth SHIRLEY et al.
Processing of Lindenmayer Grammars in an Artificial Grammar Learning Task
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11:30 - 12:00 Stefan HARTMANN et al.
Cognitive Foundations of Construal Operations: Perspectives from Language Change and Language Acquisition
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12:00 - 12:30 Antonio BENÍTEZ-BURRACO et al.
Understanding language evolution implies understanding evolution
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26.07.2013   14:00-16:30

Chair:

14:00 - 14:30 Martin PHILIPPE
Conversion of sequences of syllables in a dynamic prosodic structure
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14:30 - 15:00 Robert BERWICK et al.
Language evolution is not like genomic evolution: Phonemic Diversity Fails to Detect Language Evolution out of Africa
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15:00 - 15:30 Tobias SCHEER
What about third factor patterns?
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15:30 - 16:00 Sverker JOHANSSON
What, if anything, can Chomsky's Third Factor contribute to the understanding of language?
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16:00 - 16:30 Sverker JOHANSSON
I-language is not what evolved biologically, and E-language is not what evolved culturally
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