Deadline for submissions: March 31th, 2014

2nd Call for Papers Issue 27, October 2014

Origin And Evolution Of Language
Editors: Francesco Ferretti (Roma Tre University), Ines Adornetti (Roma Tre University - University of L'Aquila)

The origin of language is a fascinating subject that has since always been generating great interest as well as important controversies. The interest depends on the core idea that language constitutes the element that, more than any other, makes us humans. The controversies depend on the methodological difficulties related to investigating this topic. Because of these difficulties, the Linguistics Society of Paris in 1866 banned any kind of debate among its members about the topic to avoid the disputes originating from fragile speculations. Over the time the situation has considerably changed, and the origin of language is no longer a taboo today. The emergence of Darwinian evolutionary theory has allowed to address this topic scientifically and systematically; and, in the last forty years, a growing number of scholars from many backgrounds has dealt with the problem and highlighted the different aspects involved in the genesis and evolution of human linguistic capacities.
This special issue aims to address the question concerning the relationship between language origins and human nature. A large part of contemporary theoretical investigation attributes the “uniqueness” that characterizes our species to the fact that humans are talking animals. How true is this interpretation? Can we really assert that humans are uniquely characterized by their verbal skills? Do humans have a special status in nature because of language? The analysis of language in evolutionary terms is a powerful tool to answer these questions: considering our verbal skills in the framework of the evolutionary theory is indeed a way to understand how it is possible to investigate human beings in a naturalistic perspective. In other words, the theme of language origins gives us the opportunity to test Darwin’s idea of human beings as animals among other animals.

The issue aims to reflect the inherently interdisciplinary nature of research into the origin and the evolution of language. We invite papers from a wide range of subjects, including:

    philosophy of language;
    philosophy of biology;
    cognitive science;
    general evolutionary theory;
    evolutionary psychology;
    comparative psychology;
    gesture studies;
    neuroscience of language;
    animal cognition;
    animal communication.

Invited contributors:

Michael C. Corballis (University of Auckland)
Alessandra Falzone (University of Messina)
Stefano Gensini (University of Rome “La Sapienza”)
James R. Hurford (University of Edinburgh)
Adrien Meguerditchian (University of Provence)
Antonino Pennisi (University of Messina)
Ian Tattersall (American Museum of Natural History)
Natalie T. Uomini (University of Liverpool)
Jordan Zlatev (Lund University)

Submissions should adhere to the following guidelines:

Articles should be submitted in blind review format (in Microsoft Word). Please omit any self-identifying information within the abstract and body of the paper.

Furthermore, we invite to submit reviews of recent books (published after 2010), and commentaries of articles and books (also published before 2010) that could be particularly interesting for the topics analyzed in this issue.

Languages: English

Max length:
Articles: 40.000 characters  (including spaces, references and an abstract of no more than 150 words).
Commentaries: 25.000 characters   (including spaces and references).
Reviews: 20.000 characters  (including spaces and references).

Submissions should be sent via email to:, and

Important dates
Deadline for submissions: March 31th, 2014
Notification of acceptance: June 2014 

The University of Edinburgh is advertising for a long-term research-focussed job in any area of Language Evolution, which has the prospect after 5 years of converting into a permanent position. Edinburgh is famous for its involvement in language evolution research, based around what is probably the largest research group dedicated to the topic in the world. We're hoping to develop our research even further with this new appointment. You can find out more details here:

Further details:

Date: 15-Febuary-2014
Location: Rome, Italy 
Meeting URL:


Organized by:
National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography ‘‘L. Pigorini’’, Rome
Roma Tre University, Department of Philosophy, Communication and Visual Arts

Venue: National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography ‘‘L. Pigorini’’
Address: Piazza G. Marconi 14, Rome
Date: 15th February
Room: “Sala conferenze”

16.00 Opening
16.10 IAN TATTERSALL (American Museum of Natural History, New York)
Becoming Human
16.50 DAN SPERBER (CEO Budapest – Institute Jean Nicod Parigi)
A che cosa serve il linguaggio: una prospettiva evoluzionistica

17:30 Discussion

17.50 TECUMSEH FITCH (University of Vienna)
Musical Protolanguage: Darwin's Theory of Language Evolution
18.30 DAVID FRAYER (University of Kansas)
Language in Neandertals?

19:10 Discussion e conclusions

Scientific coordination:
Luca Bondioli (“Pigorini” Museum – Section of Anthropology)
Francesco Ferretti (Roma Tre University – Dep. Philosophy, Communication and Visual Arts)

Organizing Secretary:
Ines Adornetti
Alessandra Chiera
Alessia Nava
Serena Nicchiarelli
Prisca Solaini
Alessandra Sperduti
Serena Vaccaro
Date: 28-May-2013 - 29-May-2013 
Location: Paris, France 
Meeting URL: 

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science; Computational Linguistics; Language Acquisition 

Other Specialty: Evolutionary Linguistics 

Meeting Description:

We are pleased to invite you to the Workshop on Language, Cognition and Computational Models, which will be held in Paris at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) and at the Institut des Systèmes Complexes de Paris, on May 28 and 29, 2013.

The goal of this event is to provide a venue for the multidisciplinary discussion of theoretical and practical research for computational models of language and cognition. The event centers around recent advances on computational models for language acquisition, processing and evolution.

The first day will mainly address language evolution and some of the computational models that have been proposed to investigate possible avenues for this phenomenon. The second day will address more varied issues, ranging from the origins of language to recent trends in machine translation. All the talks will address key questions dealing with cognitive, formal and/or computational issues related to language evolution and/or language processing.

The event is open to students, researchers and anyone interested in related topics. Attendance is free but people who plan to attend are kindly requested to register preferably before May 10th to help with the planning of the event. The registration form is available at:

The workshop is funded by the cluster of labs (labex) Transfers. It is organized thanks to the support of Lattice, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris Sciences et Lettres, the Institut des Systèmes Complexes de Paris-Ile de France, the Institute of Informatics of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil).


Thierry Poibeau, Laboratoire Lattice (‘Langues, Textes, Traitements informatiques et Cognition’, UMR8094, CNRS, École Normale Supérieure & Université Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle, France)

Aline Villavicencio, Institute of Informatics, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)


Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS): Salle Dussane, 45 rue d’Ulm 75005 Paris

Institut des Systèmes Complexes de Paris-Ile de France (ISC-PIF): 57-59 rue Lhomond F-75005, Paris

Contact Information:

For any inquiries regarding the workshop please send an email to:

More information on: 


Tuesday May 28

09:00 - 09:15
Opening - ENS - salle Dussane

09:15 - 12:45
Multidisciplinary Aspects of Language Evolution

09:15 - 10:15
Dan Dediu (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Netherlands)
The Interplay between Linguistic and Biological Evolution

10:15 - 11:15
Ted Briscoe (University of Cambridge, UK)
A Model of L1/L2 Language Acquisition and Its Implications for Language Change

11:15 - 11:45 - Break

11:45 - 12:45
Anne Reboul (L2C2-CNRS, France)
Social Evolution of Public Languages: Between Rousseau's Eden and Hobbes' Leviathan

12:45 - 14:30
Lunch Break

14:30 - 17:00
Modeling Language Evolution: Two case studies - ISC-PIF

14:30 - 15:30
Benjamin Fagard (Lattice-CNRS, France)
Case, Prepositions and In-Betweens: Sketching a model of grammatical evolution

15:30 - 16:30
Remi van Trijp (Sony Computer Science Laboratory Paris, France)
Linguistic Assessment Criteria for Explaining Language Change: A case study on syncretism in German definite articles

16:30 - 17:00

Wednesday May 29

09:00 - 11:00
Cognitive and Computational Approaches to Language Processing - ENS - salle Dussane

09:00 - 10:00
Robert Berwick (MIT, USA)
The Dead Tell No Tales: Known unknowns about the origin of human language

10:00 - 11:00
Massimo Poesio (University of Trento, Italy and University of Essex, UK)
Using Data about Conceptual Representations in the Brain for Computational Linguistics

11:00 - 11:30

11:30 - 12:30
Philippe Blache (LPL, CNRS, France)
Measuring Difficulty as well as Facilitation: A new perspective for human language processing

12:30 - 14:30
Lunch Break

14:30 - 15:30
From Language Variety to Machine Tanslation - ENS - salle Dussane

14:30 - 15:30
Shuly Wintner (University of Haifa, Israel)
The Features of Translationese

15:30 - 16:30
Martin Kay (Stanford University, USA)
Putting Linguistics back into Computational Linguistics

16:30 - 17:00
Discussions and Closing
Forward from a lan

We thought this would be of particular interest to Language Evolution people. The University of Edinburgh has announced 100 new posts across all areas, including those that relate to work carried out in the School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences, which obviously includes topics relating to Language Evolution. These prestigious new positions will initially be mainly research-focussed initially, giving an unprecedented opportunity for candidates to pursue an active research agenda. It's expected that successful candidates will have a strong research record in the form of publications already.

The deadline is very tight, unfortunately - 18th April - so interested candidates should apply immediately.

More information is available at the following links:

Please pass this on to any likely candidates!

Best wishes,
Simon Kirby & Kenny Smith
Call for Participation "Music and the Origins of Language. International Summer School on Agent-based Computational Models of Creativity".

15 - 20 September 2013, Cortona, Italy

The Evolutionary Linguistics Association (ELA) is proud to announce its second summer school in Cortona on Music and the Origins of Language. The school is intended for postdocs, lecturers and predocs with a background in computer science and a strong interest in music and the origins of language. 

The summer school will be held in Cortona, Italy from Sunday 15 September to Friday 20 September 2013. Lectures, activities and meals are all collocated in Hotel Oasi and the Palazzone di Cortona. Participants will all stay at Hotel Oasi.

The summer school has a wide-ranging program of background lectures introducing concepts from biology, anthropology, psychology, music theory and linguistics that are helpful to understand the nature of creativity, the role and intimate relations between language and music, and the mechanisms underlying cultural evolution. It further contains technical lectures on the fundamental computational components required for language processing as well as technical ateliers to learn how to set up evolutionary linguistics experiments. Participants have the opportunity to present their latest research in a poster session. Embedded in the school is an ERC workshop of the Flow Machines project on musical style and composition. The school also features artistic ateliers in which participants create new creative works and engage in performance.

Interested researchers can apply by following the registration information that is available on the website. There are a limited number of scholarships available that cover participation and accommodation fees.

It receives support from FP7 PRAISE and INSIGHT projects, the euCognition Network of Excellence and the ESF project DRUST.

For information and queries, please visit the website or email
Event Dates: 3-4 October 2013
Event Location: Cambridge, UK
Event URL:

Just a heads up on an upcoming event. They aren't holding an open call for papers, but are asking for "expressions of interest" from researchers AT Cambridge.

Cambridge Language Sciences is hosting a major conference, Language Sciences in the 21st century: The interdisciplinary challenge, at West Road on 3-4 October 2013. The aim is to bring together an international group of researchers, whose work crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries, in order to explore key issues in language sciences. We hope the conference will be both a venue for the presentation of important new work and also a platform for Cambridge's growing profile in this area.

The conference will include invited speakers, symposia, presented papers and posters. The four thematic strands will be:

Philosophy of language meets computational linguistics

Diversity and universals

Beyond our primate inheritance: Neurobiological and evolutionary approaches to language

Interdisciplinary perspectives on multilingualism

The first step in putting together the programme will be to gain an idea of the range of contributions which could come from Cambridge, how they may fit within the conference strands, and how they represent the emergence of broader approaches and themes. We are not, at present, inviting submitted papers. Expressions of interest based on cooperative or collaborative research are particularly welcome.

If you are a Cambridge researcher interested in the possibility of presenting your work at the conference, please contact Jane Walsh in the first instance by the end of January 2013 ( indicating which theme or themes you feel your research might relate to, providing a brief description of your work and also an indication of how it meets the "interdisciplinary challenge".

Call deadline: 31 March 2013 (Updated)
Event Dates: 25-26 May 2013
Event Location: Wrocław, Poland 
Event URL:

Dear Colleagues,

we invite submissions to the third edition of Ways to Protolanguage, a conference series on language origins. Please see the website for more details:

Plenary speakers

Prof. Robin Dunbar is an anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist specialising in the study of primate behaviour. Particular interest has been generated by his hypothesis that language evolved as a substitute grooming mechanism (Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language) and Dunbar’s number hypothesis, whereby 150 constitutes the approximate cognitive limit on the number of individuals with whom a person can maintain stable relationships. He is currently the chair of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford.

Prof. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh is a psychologist and primatologist, best known for her work with the bonobos Kazni and Panbanisha, investigating their linguistic and cognitive abilities through the use of lexigrams and computer-based keyboards. Originally based at Georgia State University’s Language Research Center), she now acts as the Executive Director and Head Scientist at Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa.  

Prof. Tomasz P. Krzeszowski
 is a cognitive linguist and a full professor at the University of Warsaw. A scholarship-holder of universities in Albany, New York and Oxford, he is also a member of Neophilological Committee and Linguistic Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Currently based in the School of English at the University of Social Sciences, Warsaw. He authored over seventy original publications home and abroad, including continuously reissued English teaching handbooks. 

Prof. Peter Gärdenfors represents cognitive science; his research interests include problems related to the evolution of thinking and language (Conceptual Spaces, How Homo Became Sapiens, The Dynamics of Knowledge). His proposals regarding intentionality and imitation have received considerable attention among language evolution researchers. He is Professor of cognitive science at the University of Lund, Sweden, and member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Prof. Josep Call is a comparative psychologist specializing in the study of cognitive as well linguistic abilities of non-human great apes. He has authored more than a hundred research papers, mostly experimental studies on primate cognition. Since 1999 he has been based at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, where he is director of Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Center.

Thematic scope

Ways to Protolanguage is a biennial conference organised by the Department of English, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Committee for Philology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Wroclaw Branch and Philological School of Higher Education in Wroclaw. One of the primary goals of this conference is bringing together researchers representing a variety of areas in order to gain a multidisciplinary perspective on the range of currently available evidence relevant to early language evolution. The focus of the conference is on the early stages of the emergence of symbolic, language-like communication in hominids. The conference will reflect the inherently interdisciplinary nature of research into the evolution of language. We invite papers from a wide range of subjects related to language evolution, including:

- anthropological linguistics,
- general evolutionary theory,
- evolutionary psychology,
- comparative psychology,
- pleistocene archaeology,
- palaeoanthropology,
- genetics of language disorders,
- cultural anthropology,
- speech physiology,
- contact linguistics,
- history of writing,
- gesture studies,
- neuroscience of language,
- computational modelling,
- primatology,
- animal cognition,
- animal communication.

We invite presentations in English. However, papers in other languages are also welcome. 

Event Dates: 11-15 March 2013
Event Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Event URL:

We are happy to inform you that registration is now open for the 1st International Winter School on Evolution.  Courses are open to international Master, PhD and Post-doctoral students in the exact, life, human and sociocultural evolutionary sciences.
From Monday to Friday, parallel sessions are organized whereby visiting staff provide a 10-hour course (2 hours a day) on critical aspects of biological and sociocultural evolution. The courses are centered around the following modules.
Courses are taught by: Bruce Lieberman, Folmer Bokma, Eörs Szathmáry.
Courses are taught by William Croft, Mónica Tamariz, Daniel Dor.
Courses are taught by Douglas Zook, William Martin, Michael Arnold.
All courses are taught at a level accessible to Master, PhD and post-doctoral students in the exact, life, human and sociocultural evolutionary sciences. Students of evolutionary biology, microbiology, paleontology, evolutionary linguistics, evolutionary anthropology, and philosophy of biology will especially benefit from these courses.
Students will be provided a mandatory reading list which will form the basis of lectures and discussions. There are neither examinations nor paper assignments.
350 euro for the whole week, regardless the number of courses you choose.
You can enroll for a specific module (therefore following a 30-hour course on the subject) or you may choose three courses of your specific interest.
Places are limited, we therefore advise you to enroll as quickly as possible.
The School is organized by the Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab of the Centre for Philosophy of Science of the Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon, in collaboration with Ciência Viva and with the support of the John Templeton Foundation.
Call deadline: 30 December 2012
Event Dates: 28-30 May 2013
Event Location: Leuven, Belgium
Event URL:

The Institute of Philosophy of the University of Leuven is pleased to announce a call for abstracts for its conference on: 

Cultural evolution, philosophy and the emotions

About the conference:
The past decades have witnessed a proliferation of evolutionary theories on culture and cultural capacities. In general, evolutionary theories of culture have been rather well received in the philosophical literature. However, a number of important philosophical issues concerning this theory remain largely unsettled. This focused conference aims to address some of these issues by examining how gene-culture co-evolutionary theories can explain human emotions – a topic that has been of special importance for more narrow evolutionary approaches, such as evolutionary psychology. 

Below are some of the kinds of questions that we hope will be discussed in the course of the conference. The list is not exhaustive, but should be read as a list of suggestions: 

1. What role do emotions play in cultural evolution? 
2. Which human emotions are socially transmitted? 
3. Which aspects of emotions are socially transmitted? 
4. Can gene-culture co-evolutionary theory offer a plausible account of culture-bound syndromes? 
5. How can cultural evolutionary theories contribute to a more profound evolutionary understanding of basic emotions? 
6. Why have emotions been neglected by cultural evolutionists? 
7. Do some cultural variants spread because they solve emotional problems? 
8. Is emotional contagion a key factor for human cooperation? 
9. Has shame/disgust/fear been culturally exapted to solve modern adaptive problems? 
10. Can gene-culture co-evolutionary theories bring us any closer to a unified theory of the emotions? 

Invited speakers:
Peter J. Richerson (UC Davis), Daniel Kelly (Purdue University), Grant Ramsey (University of Notre Dame), Lesley Newson (UC Davis), Tim Lewens (Cambridge University), Stefan Linquist (University of Guelph), Stefano Ghirlanda (CUNY), and Murray Smith (University of Kent). 

Information for submissions:
Send an abstract of c. 500 words to andreas.deblock@... before December 31, 2012. You will be notified of acceptance before January 22, 2013. Please note that this will be a pre-read conference, so there is also a final paper submission deadline on April 25, 2013. The final paper should not be longer than 7000 words. We are able, on certain conditions, to offset the costs of travel for a limited number of graduate students. Please check with the organizers if you are interested. 

We intend to publish most of the papers presented at the conference in an edited volume or a special issue. We will aim high when looking for a publisher. Please note, however, that all papers will have to go through the usual process of peer review, and that the publication of your paper cannot be guaranteed. 

Organizers are Andreas De Block, Pieter R. Adriaens and Helen De Cruz. The meeting is part of a research project about the historical and evolutionary roots of homophobia (‘Homophobia and cultural evolution: A Philosophical approach’), and is sponsored by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO-Vlaanderen), the Human Evolution and Behavior Network (HEBEN), and the Institute of Philosophy (HIW, University of Leuven).