LINGUIST List 8.476

Mon Apr 7 1997

FYI: Motor theory, Conf list, Online course

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. Robin Allott, Motor theory animations
  2. Roy F. Cochrun, Language Conference List Update
  3. alan harris, Re: Online Course Offering: Communication and Technology

Message 1: Motor theory animations

Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 09:49:45 +0100
From: Robin Allott <>
Subject: Motor theory animations

The motor theory of language origin and function proposes that
language evolved as an exaptation of the complex organisation of the
cerebral motor control system. The practical significance of this is
that there must be a close relation between movement patterning and
speech patterning (an idea to some extent related to the concepts of
articulatory phonology developed by Browman and Goldstein at the
Haskins Laboratories). This fits in with the ideas of David McNeill
and Adam Kendon on the systematic relation between gesture and
language. It also leads to the rejection of the essentially
gradualistic account of language evolution presented by Steven Pinker
in The Language Instinct.

More specifically the motor theory proposes that speech sounds are the
product of elementary motor programs (particularly for controlling
hand and arm movements) applied to the articulatory system and that
corresponding to a specific set of arm movements there are specific
sets of speech sounds. With the advances made in the sophistication of
Internet browsers it is now possible to display these relationships on
the WorldWideWeb. The WWW page at 

presents graphic animated illustrations of the arm movement/speech
sound relationships and the way combinations of speech sounds when
translated into the corresponding movements produce gestures clearly
related to the meanings of the words listed. The relationships are
similar across most languages and are shown in this instance for
English, French and Japanese. An appropriate browser is needed to see
the animations - Microsoft Explorer works well but not certain about
other browsers.

Robin Allott email:
 tel/fax: +44 1323 492300
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Language Conference List Update

Date: Sun, 6 Apr 1997 09:22:46 -0400 (EDT)
From: Roy F. Cochrun <>
Subject: Language Conference List Update

The language conference list located on the WWW at URL has been updated with over
80 new conferences and about 2 dozen other changes since the February
1997 edition.

The list includes conferences for anyone interested in any aspect of
natural language: linguists, translators, interpreters, teachers of
languages (even one's own native language to native speakers, such as
English in American high schools), those who are involved in natural
language processing, et al.

I am thinking of moving to a Frames listing and would appreciate
comments from those who could view them: Would you like them, how
should they look? (Those users of the list who do not have
Frames-capable browsers need not worry. There still will be a version
of the list as it now appears. Please email with your thoughts on

As usual, changes, updates, corrections or comments via email to, please.

 --Roy Cochrun
Roy's Russian Resource:
Language Conferences:
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 3: Re: Online Course Offering: Communication and Technology

Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 01:33:36 -0800 (PST)
From: alan harris <>
Subject: Re: Online Course Offering: Communication and Technology

 | Communication and Technology |
 An Online Course offered through the Department
 of Speech Communication at California State University,
 Northridge, Summer 1997.
 Course Description:
 ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~
Politicians, corporate media spokespersons, and scholars alike have
joined in the chorus pronouncing the information age the final
revolution in human social, political, and economic institutions. As
we enter the twenty-first century, we are bombarded with the discourse
of "cyberspace," "virtual reality," the "information superhighway,"
"electronic communities," etc., but the media offer little in the way
of a frame of reference from which to evaluate the various claims
being made about these developments in communication technology. In
spite of all the "hype," or perhaps because of it, a field of truly
critical scholarly perspectives on technological change has emerged in
speech communication research.
This course will introduce students to this scholarship as a field of
study, attempting to make sense of the technological revolution from a
critical perspective that is both historically informed and
technologically astute. This course should be of value to students
interested in critical approaches to communication technology, to
people working with the internet who would like to more fully
comprehend the effects of technological changes on communication and
culture, and to anyone else interested in the intersections of
technology, politics, and social change. Interested students may look
at previous course syllabi on the WWW at

Course Format:
~~~~~~ ~~~~~~

This course will be presented using the internet, World Wide Web, and
electronic mail. Course material and presentations will be entirely
on-line. The course will be highly interactive and participants will
interact with one another and with the instructor on line to complete
assignments, discuss course materials, and solve problems. The course
will be completely virtual, requiring no travel to a meeting site.
Instructions for participation in the course will be initially sent out
over email, and lectures and presentations will be made available on the
World Wide Web. Student participation in the course will be incorporated
into the evolving web site for the course, which will be located at

Required Technical Equipment and Skills:
 ~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~~
Participants in this course will need to have or have regular access
to a Macintosh or PC personal computer (486 or faster) with at least
14.4 or greater modem connection and reliable internet service
connection. A minimum of 10 megabytes of free disk space on the hard
drive is suggested and a least 8 megabytes (16 is recommended) of
random access memory (RAM). Software requirements are communication
software (TCP-IP) to access the Internet, a Web browser (such as
Netscape or Lynx), an Electronic mail client (such as Eudora or Pine),
and a Telnet or MOO client (such as Telnet). Additional shareware
programs may be provided via downloads. Participants will be expected
to have the computer skills necessary to use electronic mail, the
Internet, and the World Wide Web.

Credits: 3 semester credit hours
Cost: $405
Time and dates: Summer 1997: July 7 - August 1
Realtime Meeting Times: Tues. and Thurs. 2-5 PM

Instructor: Ben Attias, Assistant Professor, Department of Speech
Communication, in the College of Arts, Media, and Communication at
California State University, Northridge. Professor Attias holds a
baccalaureate in Speech from Northwestern University, and is currently
completing his Doctorate in Communication Studies from the University
of Iowa. He has been "online" for about ten years, and has extensively
used Internet resources in teaching and research at the California
State University, Northridge. He is currently the System Operator for
the Internet Server in the Department of Speech Communication, the
Faculty Supervisor of the University's Virtual Classroom at the
Learning Resource Center, and the Coordinator of Internet Technology
Workshops for Faculty and Students at the Learning Resource
Center. His online vitae can be browsed on the WWW at
 For further information: Contact CSUN at (818) 677-2786
 or email Ben Attias at
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue