Super Linguistics Colloquium: Yosef Prat

Next Super Linguistics colloquium speaker is Yosef Prat (Institut de Biologie, Université de Neuchâtel):

Title: Animals have no language, and humans are animals too
Date: Friday June 5th

Time: 16:15-18:00 Oslo time

Online meeting information (please do not post the meeting information on social media or other public forums):

Zoom Meeting ID: 641-6549-2283
Password: animals

Abstract: Do nonhuman animals have language? In humans, language is prominently manifested by vocal communication (i.e., speech). However, while vocal communication is ubiquitous across the animal kingdom, studies to date have found only elementary parallels to speech in nonhuman animals. These modest linguistic capacities of other species have fortified our belief that language is uniquely human. But have we really tested this uniqueness claim? By adopting methods that are commonly used in bioacoustics, I demonstrate that, surprisingly, a true impartial comparison between human speech and other animal vocalizations has not been conducted yet. Oddly, studying human speech using the same methods used to study other species vocalizations is actually expected to provide us with no evidence for human uniqueness.

All are very welcome!

Ryo Tanaka Received Ruth Garrett Millikan Graduate Fellowship!

Ryo Tanaka is the 2020 recipient of the Ruth Garrett Millikan Graduate Research Fellowship. The Fellowship will enable Ryo to devote the summer to completing two chapters of his dissertation, which is entitled, ‘Semantic Knowledge as Expressive Know-How’. His major advisor is Dorit Bar-On. For more information about the Ruth Garrett Millikan Fellowship, please visit here.

Dorit got NEH Fellowship!

Our director, Dorit Bar-On, has received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship for next year for completion of her book. The title of her project is the same as ECOM: “Expression, Communication, and Origins of Meaning” and it aims to develop her her neo-expressivist approach to the issue of continuities and discontinuities between animal communication and human language. Congrats Dorit!

Dorit Bar-On Invited to Give a Keynote Address at ESPP 2020

ECOM director Dorit Bar-On has been invited to give a keynote address at the annual conference of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology (ESPP) 2020 (31st August – 3rd September 2020) in Leipzig, Germany. The aim of the Society is to promote interaction between philosophers, psychologists, and linguists on issues of common concern. ESPP is a great interdisciplinary venue. ECOM members are encouraged to submit papers to this conference – submissions will be solicited beginning in January 2020, so stay tuned!

Upcoming ECOM Events (2019-20)

  1. Our Meet & Greet/ECOM Welcome will take place over refreshments Fri September 13, 3:30-5:00 at the UCHI Seminar Room (Babbidge Library, 4th floor). Come hear recipients of the ECOM 2019 summer fellowships (Ryo, Ken, Aliyar, Eno, and Drew) tell about their summer projects.
  2. Reading group: We’ll be reading a recent book, Transparent Self-Knowledge (OUP, 2018) by Alex Byrne (MIT), We’ll be meeting on the following Thursdays 12:15-1:30 at the Philosophy seminar room, Manchester 227: Sept 5, 19; Oct 10, 24; Nov 7, 14. If you’d like to participate, please let Aliyar ( know. Once we have a list of participants, Dorit will send participants summary notes on the book (prepared by ECOM research specialist Teresa Allen).
  3. Prof. Byrne will be an ECOM guest and will meet reading group members on Nov 15 over lunch. On Nov 15, 4 pm Prof. Byrne will also be giving a keynote talk opening ECOM’s Inaugural Graduate Conference “Kinds of Knowledge” Nov 15-16. Kristin Andrews (York) will give a second keynote talk on Saturday. See details at PhilEvents. We will need help selecting papers, hosting graduate student speakers, chairing sessions, etc. Please let us know if you’re available to help.
  4. This year we’re introducing a new series “ECOM SPOTLIGHT”, featuring ECOM faculty members who will present their current work to the ECOM community. This Fall, Prof. Emily Myers will give a talk on Thurs Oct 17, 12-1:30 Arjona 307, and Prof. Eiling Yee will give a talk on Thurs Dec 5, 12-1:30 Arjona 307.
  5. Also, please mark your calendars, May 13-15! We’ll have a major conference, Expression, Language, and Music (ELM) to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We now have the following invited speakers: Tecumseh Fitch (Biology, Vienna), Kathleen Higgins (Philosophy, Austin TX), Ray Jackendoff (Linguistics, Tufts), Jerrold Levinson (Philosophy, Maryland), Lisa Margulis (Music Cognition, Princeton), Isabelle Peretz (Psychology, Montreal), David Poeppel (Neuroscience, NYU), Ljiliana Progovac (Linguistics, Wayne State).