LINGUIST List 13.1830

Mon Jul 1 2002

Confs: Origin & Evolution of Lang, Coll�ge de France

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  1. Bernard Laks, origin and evolution of languages

Message 1: origin and evolution of languages

Date: Mon, 1 Jul 2002 14:46:03 +0200
From: Bernard Laks <Bernard.Laksu-paris10.fr>
Subject: origin and evolution of languages

International Conference
The origin and evolution of languages : Approaches, Models,
Paradigms

Amphith��tre Marguerite de Navarre
Coll�ge de France, Paris
26-27 septembre 2002

Scientific Committee
Alain Berthoz (Coll�ge de France), Serge Cleuziou (CNRS),
Jean-Paul Demoule (Paris I), Pierre Encrev� (EHESS), Jean-Marie
Hombert (Lyon II), Jean-Jacques Hublin (Bordeaux I), Bernard Laks
(Paris X), Alain Peyraube (CNRS), Bernard Victorri (CNRS).
Organization
Serge Cleuziou (CNRS), Bernard Laks (Paris X)
Support : Universit� Paris I, Paris X, EHESS, CNRS (Programme
Origine de l'Homme, Origine des langues), R�seau Sciences
Cognitives d'Ile de France, Coll�ge de France (Chaire du Prof. A.
Berthoz), Maison de l'Arch�ologie et de l'Ethnonologie, Minist�re
de la Recherche, Minist�re des Affaires Etrang�res, Mus�e des
Arts Premiers, D�l�gation G�n�rale � la langue fran�aise et aux
langues de France.


Foreword
The debate on the evolution of humankind is being reopened.
Several teams of researchers in the fields of genetics,
linguistics, anthropology and archeology have come up with new
proposals in the last ten years in favor of a more general model
sometimes referred to as New Synthesis.
The claim is that, following a biological � bottleneck � in the
wake of local evolutionary changes affecting Homo erectus, modern
man emerged, most likely in Eastern Africa, some time between
200,000 and 100,000 years before the current era. This new human
being whose psychomotor achievements were similar to ours is
thought to have set out on a long migration throughout the world.
The migration was not only of genes but of languages.
Using different methodologies and culling their data from what is
known of the present state of genes and languages, a number of
specialists in population genetics and in typological linguistics
have been able to reconstruct the genealogical trees of genes and
languages for the whole of humankind. Concurrently, archeologists
have attempted to correlate those trees with traces of
well-attested prehistoric migrations, such as took place during
the extension of agriculture in the neolithic era.
The prominence of this New Synthesis on the epistemological scene
today should not conceal the fact that debates on the origin and
evolution of humankind and languages have been rife in scientific
discussions lately. Several competing hypotheses, models and
paradigms are being explored yet in the form of, e.g. areal
linguistics, language mix evolution, wave-like models of
diffusion. On the anthropological scene, criticisms of the
monogenetic model have set up new debates and counter-arguments.
Approaching the origin and the evolution of human languages from
within a Darwinian paradigm remains problematic; 
*	On the archeological scene, not all reconstruction are
proving compatible with existing models for the circulation of
techniques, myths and cultures; 
*	 On the linguistic scene, raising the issue of the origin
/evolution of humankind and of languages in an evolutionary,
cognitive, social and cultural perspective or in terms of
generational transmission and acquisition, inevitably entails
revisiting those linguistic theories in search of universals
(whether Chomskyan, cognitivist, optimalist) as well as most
theories of change and variation (e.g. the variationist school,
the monogenesis model etc). Clearly, counterproposals are bound
to co-occur. 
The conference will focus on the diversity of models for the
origin and evolution of languages from within each of the
scientific perspectives mentioned. The participation of
specialists of international renown in the fields of linguistics,
anthropology, archeology, genetics and cognitive science will
ensure that a wide array of positions be heard, with a view to
establishing disciplinary and/or interdisciplinary convergence on
aspects of the problem.


Programm
Jeudi 26 septembre
9h 30 - 10h : ouverture du colloque 
Alain Berthoz (Coll�ge de France)
Jean-Marie Hombert (CNRS et programme OHLL)
Jean-Paul Demoule (Comit� de Programme)
10h-10h45 Luca L. Cavalli-Sforza (Stanford) 
Relationships between genetic evolution and evolution of
languages
10h45-11h : pause
11h-11h45 Merritt Ruhlen (Stanford)
Linguistic Evidence for the First 'Out-of-Africa' Migration.
11h45-12h30 Colin Renfrew (Cambridge)
The origins of linguistic diversity: some problems with the 'New
Synthesis'.
12h30-14h : d�jeuner
14h14h45 Luciano Fadiga (Ferrare)
Speech understanding and "action-perception" debate: experimental
observations and theoretical speculations.
14h45-15h30 Richard Klein (Stanford)
How modern humans were able to replace the Neanderthals and other
non-modern Eurasians beginning 50,000 years ago.
15h30-15h45 : pause
15h45-16h30 Gilles Fauconnier (San Diego)
Double-scope blending and the integration continuum
16h30-17h15 Andrew Carsters MacCarty (Canterbury, N.Z.)
Poor design features in language as clues to its prehistory: why
language is the way it is
17h15-18h Bill Labov (Philadelphie)
Driving forces

Vendredi 27 septembre
9h30-10h15 Gillian Sankoff (Philadelphie) 
Speaker Trajectories in Language Evolution: Longitudinal Evidence
from French
10h15-11h Salikoko S. Mufwene
What do creoles and pidgins tell us about the evolution of
language.
11h-11h15 : pause
11h15-12h Andr� Langanney (Paris)
Histoires g�n�tique et linguistique : causalit�s communes et
corr�lations fortuites.
12h-12h45 David Sankoff (Montreal)
The introspector's paradox
12h45-14h30 d�jeuner
14h30-15h15 Domenico Parisi (Rome)
Simulating the origin and evolution of language
15h15-16h William S. Wang (Hong Kong)
Language and complexity
16h-16h15 pause
16h15-17h Tandy Warnow (Austin) et Donald Ringe (Philadelphie)
Perfect Phylogenetic Networks and Indo-European Evolution
17h-17h45 William Croft (Manchester)
The origin of language: an evolutionary approach
17h45-18h Conclusions Alain Peyraube (CNRS)

Information and contact
bernard.laksu-paris10.fr
CleuziouIsis.Mae.U-Paris10.Fr


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