Department of Psychology
Meaning First: How conceptual structure could serve as the developmental and phylogenetic starting point for language
This will be a speculative, wide ranging talk on a framework theory about how conceptual structures could carry most the weight in both language development and language evolution. I’ll argue that there is broad consensus in the language acquisition community about many parts of this theory and that it is broadly compatible contemporary linguistic theories. Like most framework theories it cannot be validated as a whole, instead we have to test each of the assumptions within specific domains. I’ll present a few case studies that try to do this. The case studies will explore the semantic structure of verbs for psychological states, the emergence of recursion during language creation, and quantification in Nicaraguan sign language.
Snacks will be provided.