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  • April 5, 2012
  • 06:27 PM

The evolution of numeral classifier constructions

by Richard in A Replicated Typo 2.0

I went to a good talk almost a year ago at the Interfaces III conference at the University of Kent, and I said I’d write about it, but I never got around to it. The slides have been on my desktop ever since. Now that I have a couple hours to kill on the train [...]... Read more »

Vipas Pothipath. (2008) Typology and Evolution of Numeral-Noun Constructions. Unpublished PhD Thesis at the University of Edinburgh. info:/

  • March 26, 2012
  • 08:03 AM

English belongs to everyone?

by Christof Demont-Heinrich in Language on the Move

The claim that “English belongs to everyone who uses it” has continued to gain more and more cultural cache, at least in global (English) academic circles. On the surface, the claim that “English belongs to everyone who uses it” makes … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • March 22, 2012
  • 05:27 AM

The QHImp Qhallenge: Working memory in humans and Chimpanzees

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Is your memory better than a chimp's? Play our game and find out! We'll be analysing the data in real-time.... Read more »

  • March 21, 2012
  • 05:28 AM

Evolang Coverage: Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini’s plenary talk

by bodo in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Post by Bodo Winter: Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini’s talk at this Evolang gave an impressively confident and forceful argument for linguistic nativism. The basic tenets of the Chomskyan view of language evolution were reiterated with some old and some new arguments along the way. Piattelli-Palmarini (P.P.) claimed that (1) language is modular and autonomous from other cognitive [...]... Read more »

Nilsson, D., Gislén, L., Coates, M., Skogh, C., & Garm, A. (2005) Advanced optics in a jellyfish eye. Nature, 435(7039), 201-205. DOI: 10.1038/nature03484  

  • March 20, 2012
  • 06:13 AM

Evolang coverage: More on linguistic replicators

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Monica Tamariz presented a poster at Evolang (runner up for the best poster award) about linguistic replicators. This is an alternative view to Andrew Smith's talk and Bill Benzon's post on the same subject. Below I've copied out sections of Tamariz's poster.... Read more »

  • March 13, 2012
  • 10:12 PM

So, what is it then, this Grammaticalization?

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo 2.0

A century ago Antoine Meillet, in his work L’évolution des Formes Grammaticales, coined the term grammaticalization to describe the process through which linguistic forms evolve from a lexical to a grammatical status. Even though knowledge of this process is found in earlier works by French and British philosophers (e.g. Condillac, 1746; Tooke, 1857), as well [...]... Read more »

  • March 8, 2012
  • 07:13 PM

The Origin of Gender Symbols

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

A quick post for International Women’s Day: how did the gender symbols originate in biology? What do ♀ and ♂ actually stand for?

The answer starts in antiquity, when planets and gods were almost synonymous. Religious rites (at least in Europe) were also associated with the working of metals. Thus, each heavenly body was associated with a metal, a god and provided with a proper symbol, thus... Read more »

William T. Stearn. (1962) The Origin of the Male and Female Symbols of Biology. Taxon, 11(4), 109-113. info:other/

  • March 7, 2012
  • 01:10 PM

Interrupting Insects

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

What do you think of when I say “communicate”? Most likely, you are imagining people communicating by an auditory mode (talking and listening, making expressive sounds) or by a visual mode (observing body language, reading and writing). As a species, humans inherently rely heavily on our hearing and vision to perceive the world around us and so it makes sense that we communicate with one another using these modalities. But animal species are incredibly diverse in their means of perceiving th........ Read more »

  • March 7, 2012
  • 05:17 AM

Strange academic women

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

We are marking International Women’s Day here on Language-on-the-Move with a portrait of Cezaria Baudouin de Courtenay Ehrenkreutz Jędrzejewiczowa, the first female Chair Professor of Anthropology at Warsaw University and, possibly, anywhere else in the world. Like many successful women … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • March 6, 2012
  • 02:39 PM

Using tools from evolutionary biology in cultural evolution

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Levinson & Gray (2012) demonstrate how tools from evolutionary biology can help refine the way we look at human language and human cognition. Phylogenetic techniques allow researchers to properly control for the fact that languages are related by descent. More importantly, these tools allow the study of the full variation of linguistic structures, rather than assuming that the majority of linguistic structure is constrained by a limited set of Universal Grammar parameters. ... Read more »

  • February 29, 2012
  • 10:31 AM

Cultural transmission in files

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Two recent papers demonstrate that cultural evolution can be studied in the common fly.... Read more »

Ruedi Stoop, Patrick Nüesch, Ralph Lukas Stoop, Leonid Bunimovich. (2012) Fly out-smarts man. Populations and Evolution. info:/1202.5913v1

  • February 27, 2012
  • 09:43 AM

Evolang previews: Holistic or synthetic protolanguage: evidence from iterated learning of whistled signals

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

In this talk we will present results of an iterated learning experiment about the emergence of structure in sets of whistle sounds produced with a slide whistle. We will link these results to the debate on the nature of human protolanguage.... Read more »

  • February 27, 2012
  • 01:19 AM

The sociolinguistics of nail care

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Have you recently had a manicure or a pedicure? I haven’t. In fact, I’ve never been to a nail salon in my life. Until about a decade ago that would not have been unusual among my friends and acquaintances. Today, … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 22, 2012
  • 09:14 AM

EvoLang Previews: A Bottom Up Approach to Language Evolution

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

First preview of presentations at this year's EvoLang. Here, I show that the tools you use to investigate the evolution of linguistic diversity affect the conclusions you reach.... Read more »

Burkett, D., & Griffiths, T. (2010) Iterated Learning of Multiple Languages from Multiple Teachers. The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of EvoLang 2010. info:/

  • February 21, 2012
  • 05:43 PM

Proving anything is possible: Limits of the nomothetic approach

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Preview of a poster we're presenting at Edinburgh's Digital Scholarship conference. It's increasingly easy to find correlations between social variables, so how do we identify the real links?... Read more »

  • February 20, 2012
  • 08:38 AM

Phonemic Diversity and Vanishing Phonemes: Looking for Alternative Hypotheses

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo 2.0

In my last post on the vanishing phonemes debate I briefly mentioned Atkinson’s two major theoretical points: (i) that there is a link between phoneme inventory sizes, mechanisms of cultural transmission and the underlying demographic processes supporting these changes; (ii) we could develop a Serial Founder Effect (SFE) model from Africa based on the phoneme [...]... Read more »

  • February 20, 2012
  • 02:11 AM

Bilingualism: Bane or Boon?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Hungarians in Romania Up until a few decades ago, the academic consensus – along with public opinion – was that bilingualism is detrimental to the individual and society. Nowadays, that has all changed and the new consensus is that bilingualism … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 14, 2012
  • 06:23 PM

Language shift and phone sex

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Ever since I left my native village in the Bavarian Forest more than 25 years ago, I have been returning for regular, even if infrequent, visits. Over the years, there have been many changes and two of them have been … Continue reading →... Read more »

Lucht, F., Frey, B., & Salmons, J. (2011) A Tale of Three Cities: Urban-Rural Asymmetries in Language Shift?. Journal of Germanic Linguistics, 23(04), 347-374. DOI: 10.1017/S1470542711000195  

  • February 13, 2012
  • 08:09 AM

Super Smart Animals

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

This new documentary about animal intelligence shares some of these elements (sandy beaches, far flung destinations), but crucially, Liz Bonnin is more than an enthusiastic observer – she is not just an engaging television presenter, but a REAL SCIENTIST.... Read more »

  • January 31, 2012
  • 03:08 PM

You’ll never teach a monkey how to sing

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

While my posts are often less than serious, this one is slightly sillier than usual. It’s a song I wrote a while ago about animal communication. Enjoy/Endure/Evade: You can read about some of the theory that I distort with my artistic license here: Articles by Michael: Imitation in Chimpanzees ,  Animals learning syntax , Self-Domestication [...]... Read more »

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