Workshop on Complexity in Language: Developmental and Evolutionary Perspectives


Monday 23 May 2011, 9h00 - Tuesday 24 May 2011, 17h00


ENS de Lyon - site Descartes, Salle F106, arvis Descartes, 69000 Lyon

Workshop on Complexity in Language: Developmental and Evolutionary Perspectives

Linguists have become increasingly interested in the subject matter of complexity. However, it's not clear that they have stopped to articulate explicitly what complexity means and what yardstick can be used to measure it, especially in studies comparing different language varieties. There has also been little discourse on alternative ways of conceiving of complexity and on what the different conceptions entail for accounts of the architectures and functions of languages. Can linguistics take inspiration from complexity theory as developed in, for instance, cybernetics and physics? This workshop is intended to foster a dialog between scholars of diverse but complementary backgrounds on these topics, to which we add developmental and evolutionary perspectives. How does complexity in language emerge ontogenetically and how did it evolve phylogenetically? Are there really languages that are less complex than others, in the same ways that successive stages of language development can display different levels of complexity? Is there a static kind of linguistic complexity that is distinct from dynamic complexity arising from the interactions of various modules during communication?


Sciences du langage et linguistique
01/09/2010 - 30/06/2011