LINGUIST List 11.377

Tue Feb 22 2000

Calls: Evolution of language, Semantics/Pragmatics

Editor for this issue: Jody Huellmantel <>

As a matter of policy, LINGUIST discourages the use of abbreviations or acronyms in conference announcements unless they are explained in the text.


  1. maxstam, Evolution of language
  2. Dr K.M. Jaszczolt, Semantics/Pragmatics Conference in Cambridge

Message 1: Evolution of language

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 09:18:12 +0200
From: maxstam <>
Subject: Evolution of language


Conference on "Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Brain and Language".


Hosted by Hanse Institute for Advanced Study
Delmenhorst, GERMANY;

Primary organizers:
Vittorio Gallese (University of Parma) and Maxim Stamenov (Bulgarian
Academy of Sciences)

The aim of this conference will be to bring together scholars from
several disciplines and fields of study for discussion of some of the
basic problems and perspectives related to the discovery of a new
class of neurons in the monkey premotor cortex -- mirror neurons.
 The point of this discovery is that it shed new light on the neural
correlate of the social sharedness of intentions and actions. The action
of mirror neurons (MNs) seems to provide a bridge and mapping between
one's own behavioral actions (and their potential monitoring) with the
observed actions of other individuals. The consequences of this
discovery can have implications for our understanding of animal
communication and cognition and human cognition and consciousness and
the way of their genetic inheritance and implementation in the brain.
 The discovery of MNs may provide a new, although still sketchy,
neurobiological basis to account for the emergence of language (cf. G.
Rizzolatti & M. Arbib. 1998. "Language within Our Grasp". Trends in
Neurosciences 21:188-194, for orientation). This assumption is founded
on the following premises:

(a) Language skill has emerged through evolution by means of a process
of preadaptation: specific behaviors and the nervous structures
supporting them, originally selected for other purposes, acquire new
functions that side and eventually supersede the previous one;

(b) A continuity can be traced between language skill and pre-language
brachio-manual behaviors, being the primate premotor cortex the common
playground of this evolutionary continuity;

(c) The specialization for language of human Broca's region derives from
an ancient mechanism, the mirror system, originally devised for action

The orientation of organizers is to bring together scholars interested
in the co-evolution of language, cognition, and consciousness along the
following lines, among others:

(i) mirror neurons, the brain's microstructure and the specificity of
their performance in monkeys, primates and humans in supporting
high-level cognitive processing;

(ii) the macrostructure of the brain and its evolution from monkeys to
primates to man in the development of specific cognitive functions;

(iii) the philogenetic and ontogenetic links between behavioral action,
gesture, and communicative verbal action in the development of the
language faculty.

Conference format
The conference will host 15 invited speakers. There are 24 slots
available for oral presentations and 30 slots for poster
presentations. Submissions are invited for selection for oral papers
(with 20 min. presentation time and 10 min. discussion time), as well
as for poster presentations. Unless explicitly specified, submitted
abstracts will be considered for both oral and poster
presentation. Posters will be displayed during the whole duration of
the meeting and a special session of the conference will be dedicated
to their discussion.

The invited speakers who already confirmed their participation are
(please note that the titles of their talks are preliminary ones):

Harold BEKKERING (Munich): "The Observation and Execution of Finger and
Mouth Movements";
Stein BRATEN (Oslo): "Altercentric Perception and Participation: Infant
and adult dialogue partners";
Colin BROWN (Nijmegen): "Brain-Imaging Studies of Language Comprehension
and Production: A focus on Broca's region";
William CALVIN (Seattle, WA): "Darwinian Aspects of Generating Novel
Structured Movement Programs and Choosing between Alternatives";
Luciano FADIGA (Parma): tba;
Leo FOGASSI (Parma): "The Neural Correlates of Action Understanding in
Nonhuman Primates";
Marc JEANNEROD (Lyon): tba;
Charles LI (Santa Barbara) & Jean-Marie HOMBERT (Lyon): "The
Evolutionary Origin of Language: A linguistic perspective";
Michael PETRIDES (Montreal); tba;
Daniel POVINELLI (New Iberia, LA): "Evolution of Cognitive Diversity";
Giacomo RIZZOLATTI (Parma): "Action Understanding in Humans";
Gerhard ROTH (Bremen): "Is the Human Brain Unique?";
Sue SAVAGE-RUMBAUGH (Atlanta, GA): "Mirror Neurons and Interspecies
Maxim STAMENOV (Sofia): "Human Verbal Communication as Monitored Joint
Michael STUDDERT-KENNEDY (New Haven, CT): "Imitation and Evolution of
Particulate Speech";
Edda WEIGAND (Muenster): "Constitutive Features of Human Dialogical

In addition to regular program, the conference will feature three
evening discussions dealing with the problems of:

(1) the evolution of the brain from monkeys to humans (neuroscience
(2) the co-evolution of executive functions and cognitive abilities from
monkeys to humans (cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience
perspective); and
(3) the evolution of communication and language (the perspective of the
language sciences).

Abstract submission:
Abstracts of 500 words are requested by March 15, 2000 both for oral
presentations and posters. The abstracts should be sent preferably by
e-mail (in ASCII) to: (Dr. Mechthild Harders-Opolka); (Dr. Vittorio Gallese); (Dr. Maxim Stamenov).

In case an author prefers to send the abstract in hard copy, three
copies of it should be sent to Dr. Mechthild Harders-Opolka, Hanse
Institute for Advanced Study, Lehmkuhlenbusch 4, D-27753 Delmenhorst,

Publication policy:
The organizers intend to publish a collective volume with selected
contributions to the conference after the meeting takes place.

Important information:

Deadline for abstract submission: March 15, 2000;

Confirmation of acceptance of selected papers: April 01, 2000;

Time of the conference: July 05-08, 2000;

Conference site: Hanse Institute for Advanced Study, Lehmkuhlenbusch 4,
D-27753 Delmenhorst, GERMANY;

Web site: Currently only a German version is
available under Veranstaltungen, geplante Tagungen. English version will
become available after April 01, 2000.

Conference fee: DM150,-; DM100,- for students;

Questions and inquiries about the program: (Maxim

Questions and inquiries about local organization, housing, etc.: (Dr. Mechthild Harders-Opolka).
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Message 2: Semantics/Pragmatics Conference in Cambridge

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 14:18:07 +0000 (GMT)
From: Dr K.M. Jaszczolt <>
Subject: Semantics/Pragmatics Conference in Cambridge

Second International Conference in Contrastive Semantics and Pragmatics
SIC-CSP 2000
Newnham College, Cambridge, UK
11-13 September 2000

Second Circular and Call for Papers

Conference organizers:

Kasia Jaszczolt, University of Cambridge
Ken Turner, University of Brighton

Invited speakers:

Eva Hajicova, Charles University, Prague
Ferenc Kiefer, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Gregory Ward, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

The conference aims at bringing together various aspects of research in
semantics and pragmatics, based on, or otherwise pertaining to, linguistic
constructions from at least two different languages.

Papers are invited that contribute to research on semantic and pragmatic
theory, the interface between semantics and pragmatics, as well as more
empirically based presentations that report on the evidence from
collected data in a contrastive linguistic perspective. We also welcome
papers on the methodology and typology of contrastive studies with special
reference to semantics and pragmatics.

The abstracts of 25-minute talks should be not longer than one A4 page and
should contain a clear indication of the objectives, method, and languages
discussed. Five copies of the abstract should be sent: four anonymous for
refereeing by the Conference Programme Committee and one with name and
affiliation to be printed in in the booklet of Conference Abstracts.
Please attach a card with your name, full postal address, email address
and fax and telephone number.

Please send the abstract by 31 May 2000 to:
Dr K.M. Jaszczolt, Department of Linguistics, MML, University of
Cambridge, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DA, United Kingdom.

Selected conference papers will be published by Elsevier Science.

For more information please check regularly on:

For the Proceedings from the First International Conference in Contrastive
Semantics and Pragmatics see:

K. Jaszczolt and K. Turner (eds). 1996. Contrastive Semantics and Pragmatics. 
2 volumes. Oxford: Elsevier Science (also in Language Sciences, vol.
18.1-4, 1996).

Please address programme enquiries to Conference Organizers. For
information about booking and registration please check the web site or
contact Domestic Bursar's Secretary, Newnham College, Cambridge CB3 9DF,
United Kingdom.


Dr K. M. Jaszczolt
Department of Linguistics			Newnham College
Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages	Cambridge CB3 9DF
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge CB3 9DA

tel 01223 335744
fax 01223 335062

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