ISLE Inaugural Workshop 2019

Call for papers

Inaugural workshop of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language Evolution (ISLE)

The evolution of language:  Bridging the natural and cognitive sciences

The newly established Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language Evolution (ISLE) at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, invites submissions for presentations at its inaugural workshop. The workshop will take place March 4-5, 2019.

The aim of the workshop, and the mission of ISLE, is to bridge between different approaches working on language evolution, specifically between the natural and cognitive sciences. Although much progress has been made in the past two decades, comparative research on animal communication and work on human language have traditionally been undertaken in isolation, a division often reinforced by how departments and faculties are typically organized. We aim at breaking this tradition and bring the full force of each discipline, its theories and methods, to bear on all questions relating to the phylogeny, ontogeny, and dynamics (cultural evolution and variability) of language and animal communication.

We invite contributions that shed light on the evolution of language, speech and communication via empirical or modeling research in animal and human communication including:

-    communication and cognition in individual species,
-    cross-species comparison,
-    biological and genetic foundations,
-    social and ecological conditions,
-    vocal learning and language acquisition,
-    cultural evolution and language change,
-    language/communication and population diversity
-    phylogenetic brain plasticity


Invited speakers:

Susan Goldin-Meadow, University of Chicago
Tecumseh Fitch, University of Vienna
Simon Kirby, University of Edinburgh
Morten Christiansen, Cornell University

Please send your 300-word abstract for presentations (20 minutes) by December 3, 2018.
Please submit your abstract by email as a pdf (anonymized) to:

Notification of acceptance: December 20, 2018.

Organizers: Organizing Committee:
Sabine Stoll Balthasar Bickel
Marta Manser Martin Meyer
  Carel van Schaik
  Simon Townsend
  Klaus Zuberbühler