ECOM Director Dorit Bar-On will be presenting a joint paper with St. Andrews Evolutionary Psychologist Kate Arnold entitled “How to Do Things With Nonwords: Communication, Expression, and Meaning” at the workshop “Linguistic Investigations Beyond Language: Gestures, Body Movement and Primate Linguistics” at ZAS in Berlin, March 11-12, 2019.
The study of non-human communication took off in the 1980’s following the foundational work of Seyfarth and Cheney. Since then, by comparing human language to non-human systems, biologists have explored what makes human language unique, when human language evolved from animal communicative systems, and whether the origin of language is gestural or vocal. However, after 40 years of intense research on many taxa, the communication capacities of non-human animals remain little understood, and so does the origin of human language. One of the main obstacles appears to be a lack of consensus on analytic methods. To address this issue, a field of animal linguistics is emerging, with the aim of studying animal communicative systems as formal systems, using general methods borrowed from linguistics.
This workshop aims to bring together leading linguists and biologists, all pioneers in the field of animal linguistics, in order to provide insights on how to combine linguistic and biological approaches to the study of animal communication. We will cover several fields of linguistics, from formal to quantitative approaches, and to apply their methods to a diversity of taxa, such as birds and primates. In addition, the workshop will consider both gestural and vocal communication.
The panel of speakers will consist of Stuart Semple (University of Roehampton), Marion Laporte (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle), Sabrina Engesser (University of Zurich), Kirsty Graham (University of York) and Thom Scott-Phillips (Central European University).
Attendees will have the opportunity to present their research during a poster session that will be
held after the lunch break.
Submission deadline for poster: June 1st 2019 (250-word abstract to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Registration is free but mandatory: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/animal-linguistics-take-the-leap-tickets-55504497446
Maria Botero, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Sam Houston State Universtiy, published a paper in the International Journal of Comparative Psychology in 2018. A version of this paper, titled “Bringing Touch Back to the Study of Emotions in Human and Non-Human Primates: A Theoretical Exploration,” was presented at ECOM’s 2018 Conference on Emotions and Expressions. More information about this paper can be found here.