Language and Logic Courses


Experimental approaches to language universals in structure and meaning

Mora Maldonado, Alexander Martin and Jennifer Culbertson

Week 1, August 3-7, 2020


What is the range of variation in human languages? Despite their apparent differences, natural languages seem to exhibit many profound similarities between them. These similarities, often referred to as _linguistic universals_ (though they are often strong statistical tendencies rather than totally universal) occur at all levels of linguistic analysis, ranging from phonology to semantics. In order to identify which properties are constant across languages and which ones are not, researchers have traditionally relied mainly on data from acquisition or typology.

More recently, the use of experimental approaches to the study of linguistic universals has served not only to complement traditional sources but also to provide a cognitive explanation for why these universals hold (Culbertson 2018). This workshop aims at bringing together researchers doing experimental work on language universals from syntactic, semantic, and general cognitive science perspectives.

We invite anonymised submission of abstracts through EasyChair of 2 pages (12 pt font; 1in or 2.5cm margins) — with an extra page for references or figures — on new research on the following topics:

  • semantic universals
  • experimental approaches to linguistic universals (in general)
  • acquisition in semantics or syntax
  • learnability or evolution of semantics or syntax

Keynote Speaker: Wataru Uegaki (University of Edinburgh)

Deadline submissions: 15 February 2020
Notification of acceptance: 15 April 2020
Final programme: 1 June 2020

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32nd European Summer School in Logic, Language and Information - ESSLLI 2021
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