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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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FYI: L3 Mailing List, LANGUAGE EVOLUTION


Author: Robert J. Fouser

FYI Body: Dear Colleagues,

I have recently set up a mailing list dedicated to discussing L3
(third language) acquisition, multiple language acquisition, tri- and
multilingualism. Anybody interested in these topics is welcome to
join. In the spirit of multilingualism, messages in differen
languages are also welcome. To join, send the following message,
leaving the subject line blank, to

majordomo@tsubaki.kumagaku.ac.jp:

subscribe l3-list [your e-mail address]

Your request will be processed as soon as possible.

With best wishes,

Robert Fouser





(1) THE COGNITIVE PREREQUISITES FOR LANGUAGE (Burling)
http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/psyc-bin/newpsy?10.032

(2) LANGUAGE EVOLUTION AND THE COMPLEXITY CRITERION (Bichakjian)
http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/psyc-bin/newpsy?10.033

The two target articles whose abstracts follow below were published
today in PSYCOLOQUY, a refereed journal of Open Peer Commentary
sponsored by the American Psychological Association. Qualified
professional biobehavioral, neural or cognitive scientists are
hereby invited to submit Open Peer Commentary on either or both
articles. Please email or consult the journal's websites below for
Instructions if you are not familiar with format or acceptance
criteria for PSYCOLOQUY commentaries (all submissions are
refereed).

To submit articles and commentaries or to seek information:

EMAIL: psyc@pucc.princeton.edu
URL: http://www.princeton.edu/~harnad/psyc.html
http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/psyc

- ---------------------------------------------------------------------

(1) THE COGNITIVE PREREQUISITES FOR LANGUAGE
Target Article on Language-Prerequisites

Robbins Burling
Department of Anthropology
1020 LSA Building
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor MI 48109 USA
rburling@umich.edu

ABSTRACT: The first use of words by our early ancestors probably
depended on four cognitive capacities: A rich conceptual
understanding of the world around us; the ability to use and
understand motivated signs, both icons and indices; the ability to
imitate; the ability to infer the referential intentions of others.
The latter three capacities are rare or absent in nonprimate
mammals, but incipient in apes and well developed in modern humans.
Before early humans could have begun to use words these capacities
would have needed further development than is found in modern apes.
It is not clear why selection favoured these skills more strongly
in our ancestors than in the ancestors of apes.

KEYWORDS: cognition; evolution; iconicity; imitation; language;
names; theory-of-mind; words.

Access full text at:

http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/psyc-bin/newpsy?10.032

- ---------------------------------------------------------------------

(2) LANGUAGE EVOLUTION AND THE COMPLEXITY CRITERION
Target Article on Language-Complexity

Bernard H. Bichakjian
Department of French
University of Nijmegen,
The Netherlands
Bichakjian@let.kun.nl
http://welcome.to/bichakjian

ABSTRACT: Though it is increasingly accepted in the behavioral
sciences, the evolutionary approach is still meeting resistance in
linguistics. Linguists generally cling to the idea that alternative
linguistic features are simply gratuitous variants of one another,
while the advocates of innate grammars, who make room for evolution
as a biological process, exclude the evolution of languages. The
rationale given is that today's languages are all complex systems.
This argument is based on the failure to distinguish between
complexities of form and function. The proper analysis reveals
instead that linguistic features have consistently decreased their
material complexity, while increasing their functionality. A
systematic historical survey will show instead that languages have
evolved and linguistic features have developed along a Darwinian
line.
KEYWORDS: complexity, Indo-European, language evolution,
lateralization, neoteny, word order.

Access full text at:

http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/psyc-bin/newpsy?10.033

- ---------------------------------------------------------------------

To submit articles and commentaries or to seek information:

EMAIL: psyc@pucc.princeton.edu
URL: http://www.princeton.edu/~harnad/psyc.html
http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/psyc


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