How Language Evolves

Event Dates: 
Feb 20, 2015 -
1:00pm to 5:30pm
Event Chairs:

Roger Levy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David Perlmutter, University of California, San Diego

This symposium addresses the question of how human language came to have the kind of structure it has, focusing on three sources of evidence: 1) ways languages get new structure not present in the language of the previous generation(s) of speakers or signers; 2) what contrasts between new and mature languages reveal about how language evolves; and 3) neuroscientific investigations of functional specialization for language in the human brain and its dependence on the linguistic input the language learner gets during cognitive development.

Event Sessions

Media for each talk can be played by clicking on icons in the "Media" column, or by clicking on the individual talk titles below and then the attachment file at the bottom of the page.

Date Media Session Title Speakers
Fri 2/20 File Welcome Pascal Gagneux, University of California, San Diego
Fri 2/20 File Opening Remarks Roger Levy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Fri 2/20 File Language Evolution in the Lab: The Emergence of Design Features Simon Kirby, University of Edinburgh
Fri 2/20 File Contact Languages and Light Warlpiri Carmel O'Shannessy, Australian National University
Fri 2/20 File Rethinking Recapitulation: Sources of Structure in Nicaraguan Sign Language Ann Senghas, Barnard College of Columbia University
Fri 2/20 File Co-emergence of Meaning and Structure in a New Language Mark Aronoff, Stony Brook University (State University of New York)
Fri 2/20 File Combinatoriality within the Word: Sign Language Evidence David Perlmutter, University of California, San Diego
Fri 2/20 File What Can You Say without Syntax? Ray Jackendoff, Tufts University
Fri 2/20 File Specialization for Language in the Human Brain Evelina Fedorenko, MIT
Fri 2/20 File How the Environment Shapes Language in the Brain Rachel Mayberry, University of California San Diego
Fri 2/20 File Neuroscience of Speech Perception and Speech Production Edward Chang, University of California, San Francisco
Fri 2/20 File Wrap Up, Question and Answer, and Closing Remarks Fred Gage, Salk Institute