CEE 2010 Symposium - 'Integrating Genetic and Cultural Approaches to Language'

26 February 2010

Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Venue: The Octagon, Queens' Building, Mile End

This symposium will ask how the diverse and complex languages of today evolved from a non-linguistic ancestral state, encompassing both genetic evolution (of the language faculty) and cultural evolution (of languages themselves). Topics to be addressed include comparative studies of vocal communication in birds, ungulates and primates, the genetic and neurobiological basis of human speech and language, cognitive influences on language evolution, and phylogenetic analyses of language history.

Speakers and talk titles:

Tecumseh Fitch, University of Vienna - 'Language Evolution: Testing the Hypotheses with Comparative and Genetic Data'

Simon Fisher, University of Oxford - 'Molecular windows into speech and language'

Chris Petkov, University of Newcastle - 'Communication and the primate brain: Insights from comparing the neuroimaging evidence in humans, chimpanzees and macaques'

Gabriel Beckers, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology - 'Mechanisms of bird vocal production, perception and learning: a comparison to speech and language'

Katie Slocombe, University of York - 'Primate vocal communication: links to human language?'

Mark Pagel, Reading University - 'Language as a Culturally Transmitted Replicator'

Kenny Smith, Northumbria University - 'Language evolution in the lab'

Fiona Jordan, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics - 'Kinship terminology and the evolution of semantic systems'

Nick Chater, University College London - 'Cultural Evolution and Language Acquisition'

Dan Dediu, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics - 'Are languages really independent from genes? If not, what would a genetic bias affecting language diversity look like?'

Symposium support:
The Centre for Ecology and Evolution
The Galton Institute
The Genetics Society
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London
Department of Linguistics, Queen Mary, University of London


Contact information:

Alan McElligott
Biological and Chemical Sciences