LINGUIST List 27.2192

Thu May 12 2016

Calls: Lang Acq/Romania

Editor for this issue: Ashley Parker <>

Date: 12-May-2016
From: Anca Sevcenco <>
Subject: The Acquisition of Recursion
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Full Title: The Acquisition of Recursion

Date: 18-Nov-2016 - 18-Nov-2016
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Contact Person: Anca Sevcenco
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition

Call Deadline: 15-Sep-2016

Meeting Description:

In recent biolinguistic studies recursion has been integrated in linguistic theory as a formal property of the grammatical devices that generate an infinite number of utterances (see Tomalin 2007 and references therein). Hauser, Chomsky & Fitch (2002) reconsidered the role of recursion, advancing the hypothesis that it is a central computation of the faculty of language in the narrow sense (FLN). On this view, it is conjectured that recursion actually represents a central property of the human language faculty. This proposal has sparkled a lively debate about the universality of recursion within the language faculty, about the relationship between recursion and the human cognitive system, as well as about the radical view that recursion might be the defining characteristic of the language faculty (Everett 2005, 2009, Pinker & Jackendoff 2005, Nevins et al. 2009 a,b, Piattelli-Palmarini et al. 2009, Corballis 2011, Frank, Bob & Christiansen 2012, a.o.).

Research on these issues has stayed mainly within the bounds of theoretical studies. Recently, however, attention started to be directed towards the acquisition of recursive structures by the typically developing children (see Limbach & Adone 2010, Pérez-Leroux et al. 2012, Roeper et al. 2012 on recursion in the nominal domain). These studies have revealed that younger children have difficulty producing and comprehending recursive structures, showing preference for non-recursive responses to task stimuli.

Providing answers to the following questions (the list is by no means exhaustive) could shed further light on the acquisition of recursion as well as on its role as a central computation of narrow syntax:

- how much of the acquisition of recursion is constrained by innate factors and how much by third factors (e.g. general principles of structural architecture, of efficient computation, and of data analysis, Chomsky 2005)?
- does recursion type matter? e.g. does one form of recursion trigger another?
-is it possible to outline a path for the acquisition of recursion? How much of the path is universal and how much subject to cross-linguistic differences?

Invited speakers:

Ana T. Pérez-Leroux (University of Toronto)
Thomas Roeper (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

Call for Papers:

We welcome submissions for 30 minute oral presentations on experimental work that addresses the acquisition of recursive structures in any learning context. The abstracts should be anonymous, written in English, typed in 12-point font and should not exceed one page. An optional page may be included, with examples and references. Submissions are limited to one single-authored and one joint-authored abstract per author.

Important dates:
Deadline for abstract submission: September 15 2016
Notification of acceptance: October 1 2016

Page Updated: 12-May-2016