The 101st ICREA Colloquium ‘From the inside out and back: Cognitive, neural and communicative pressures that shape human language’
When: 28th of June 2022, 18:00h
Where: Zoom & Auditorium FCRi, Passeig de Lluís Companys, 23, 08010 Barcelona
Why is human language the way it is? Much of the discussion about this topic has focused on the amazing linguistic capabilities of humans, compared to other animals or to computers. However, humans are also “endowed” with many limitations. We have internal pressures: Our brain is limited and wired to connect regions with specific functions, we have a limited attentional capacity and also a limited working memory capacity. And we also have external pressures, such as the need to navigate the environment we find ourselves in, and to communicate with other human beings. What if what makes our language human is actually its adaptation to these limitations and pressures? This is the view that we will explore in our talk.
More specifically, we will examine how language is shaped from the inside out, that is, from our neurocognitive system to the world, and back. First, we will review how our attentional limitations help us simplify the way we perceive linguistic input as infants, fostering learning, and how this initial learning allows us to progressively incorporate more of the input. Second, we will explore how the interaction between cognitive and communicative pressures shapes the lexicons of natural languages.
The ICREA colloquia are a great way to learn about remote fields of research from our best experts. We usually have two speakers, who offer their opinions on the same subject from different angles. They are open to all ICREAs and their guests.