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Workshop booklet

The comparative biology of artificial grammar learning

"A key property distinguishing language from the vocal communication in other animals is our ability to apply abstract rules to create an unbounded set of linguistic utterances. There is a debate on whether this ability is uniquely human, and evolved in consort with language, or whether it originates from more general cognitive abilities that might also be present in other animal species, either by common descent or by independent evolution. [...] With this workshop, we aim to assess the current state of knowledge with respect to the rule learning abilities in non-human animals and how do they compare to human infants, children and adults. We bring together leading researchers involved in artificial grammar learning studies in humans as well as in a variety of animal species: monkeys, rats and birds." (excerpt from the workshop website)

Convenors: Carel ten Cate and Willem Zuidema

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Evolution of signals, speech and signs

"This workshop aims to bring together researchers interested in the physical signals that are used to convey language and the potential precursors of these signals. The intention of the workshop is not so much to present entirely new results [...] but to find out which open questions remain, what new approaches would be possible and where (interdisciplinary) cooperations could be useful. [...] One of the workshop’s main themes will be to look for new empirical ways to test ideas that have so far received no attention or have only been speculated about." (excerpt from the workshop proceedings)

Convenors: Bart de Boer and Tessa Verhoef

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Evolutionary linguistics and historical language studies 

"[The] workshop solicits contributions in which historical and evolutionary linguists show and/or discuss how assumptions, methods and insights developed in either of the two domains can be made relevant in the other. While contributions may address methodological issues, questions of conceptualisation, or specific empirical problems, they should strive to be maximally accessible to colleagues beyond the specific area of specialisation they represent." (excerpt from the workshop description)

Convenors: Melanie Malzahn and Nikolaus Ritt

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EvoMus: The evolution of language and music in a comparative perspective 

"The purpose of this workshop is to (i) provide a common platform for researchers from a range of fields (syntax, phonology, typology, biomusicology, ethnomusicology, neuroscience, etc) to compare results and methodologies, (ii) discuss and integrate findings from different disciplines within the evolutionary and cognitive frameworks, (iii) develop critical hypotheses whose empirical testing can shed light on issues at the frontier between the evolution of language and music." (excerpt from the workshop description)

Convenors: Andrea Ravignani and Bruno Gingras

NEW: the workshop programme can be downloaded here!

How grammaticalization processes create grammar: From historical corpus data to agent-based models

"Recently the scientific study of language origins and evolution has seen three important breakthroughs. First, a growing number of corpora of historical language data has become available. [...] Second, agent-based models of the cognitive and cultural processes underlying the emergence and evolution of language have made a significant leap forward by using sophisticated, and therefore more realistic, representations of grammar and language processing [...]. The workshop is intended to enable a deeper dialog between two communities [...] so that we can productively combine the very long tradition of empirical research from historical linguistics with the rigorous formalization and validation through simulation as practiced in agent-based modeling." (excerpt from the workshop website)

Convenors: Luc Steels, Freek Van de Velde and Remi van Trijp

Please visit the workshop website for further information!

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