Biolinguistics: acquisition and language evolution
2-4 July, 2008
University of York, UK
Welcome to BALE!
A major goal of current linguistic research is to understand the unique language ability of human beings. A central question is the nature of our genetic endowment for language, as reflected in its acquisition and its neurological and biological underpinnings. The key questions of language acquisition include the extent and role of innate knowledge of linguistic structure and the interaction of such knowledge with the ambient language input to which children are exposed.
Language evolution, similarly, questions the possible origin of a unique 'language faculty'. Hypotheses regarding both acquisition and evolution must confront the issue of the interaction of Universal Grammar with other human cognitive and perceptuomotor capacities. At the same time, cultural and historical perspectives on evolution are also needed, as are insights from interdisciplinary fields such as psychology, anthropology, evolutionary biology, genetics and computational modelling. This conference would like to invite contributions for these or other disciplines which can address any or all of the three topics named in our title.