From: Heriberto Avelino <heriberto_avelinoeva.mpg.de>
Subject: Phonetic Universals
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Full Title: Phonetic Universals
Date: 29-Oct-2010 - 30-Oct-2010
Location: Leipzig, Germany
Contact Person: Heriberto Avelino
Meeting Email: phonetic_universalseva.mpg.de
Web Site: http://www.eva.mpg.de/lingua/conference/10-PhoneticUniversals/index.html
Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics; Phonology; Typology
Call Deadline: 15-May-2010
We invite papers from linguists, as well as from scholars from related
disciplines, who are concerned with universals of human language and phonetic
Ian Maddieson (UC Berkeley/U New Mexico)
David Poeppel (New York University)
Christine Shadle (Haskins Laboratories)
John Kingston (University of Massachusetts)
Pascal Perrier (GIPSA Lab, CNRS)
Call for Papers
Recent research within linguistics as well as from different fields ranging from
cognitive neurosciences to physics to physiology and mathematical modeling have
widened our understanding of the universals of human language, and in particular
the universal properties of the sound patterns of languages. Historically, it
has been recognized that the research on universals of sound patterns has a
special place in the attempt to arrive at empirically valid generalizations
across languages (Greenberg, 1978). While this is widely accepted, it is not
always the case that there is agreement on fundamental questions such as where
do universals of sound patterns come from, what would be their ultimate
explanation, and what are the best approaches to further studying them?'
Traditionally, language universals have been explained either as the result of
an innate language faculty or by the communicative function of language (in
which external factors such as cognitive or anatomical limitations, for
instance, might play a critical role.) Nevertheless, it is not always clear
whether the attested commonalities across languages should be attributed
categorically to either explanation. We would rather sidestep the issue of
whether one explanation has superiority over the other. Undoubtedly, both
approaches are well grounded and have made complementary and solid contributions
to the ultimate goal of accounting for language universals. We believe that a
shift in the question would be beneficial. We could follow the lead from
evolutionary anthropology or evolutionary biology and ask how and when the two
sources of explanation for language universals interact. At any rate, we firmly
believe that a more comprehensive and fruitful research program will emerge from
the empirical study of individual languages and the comparison of their
properties. Only this approach guarantees that the proposed formal
universals-and the theoretical basis underlying them- would represent and
conform to the actual traits found in the set of known human languages.
With this interdisciplinary perspective to the notion of language universals we
hope that the conference will allow us to make progress by bringing together
scholars from different subfields of linguistics as well as other disciplines
who are concerned with the homo sapiens' language sound structures to present
new insights into the nature of phonetic universals.
If you are interested in participating in the Conference on Phonetics
Universals, please send a title and a short (one page) abstract to
phonetic_universalseva.mpg.de. After the abstract is submitted there will be a
selection of papers accepted.
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