New Perspectives on Language Creativity:
Composition and Recursion

UQAM, September 25-27, 2011

This conference addresses central issues on the computational procedure that gives rise to the discrete infinity of language from a biolinguistic perspective (Lenneberg 1967; Chomsky 1995, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2011; Chierchia 1995, 2004, 2006; Wexler 1996, 2003; Riemsdijk 1998, 2004; Jenkins 2000, 2004, 2011; Pica 2001, 2008; Yang 2002, 2011; Di Sciullo 2005; Pesetsky 2007, 2009; Piattelli-Palmarini & Uriagereka 2008; Friederici 2009; Friedrich & Friederici 2009; Hinzen 2009, 2011; Longobardi & Guardiano 2009, 2011; Di Sciullo et al. 2010; Larson, Déprez & Yamakido 2010; Mukherji 2010; Stabler 2010, 2011; Berwick & Larson 2011; Chomsky 2011; Di Sciullo & Boeckx 2011; Kosta 2011; Lasnik 2011, among other works).

It aims to bring long lasting questions on language creativity into new light. It invites contributions on the properties of the composition operation and of the recursive procedure that might very well account for much of the progress made by the human species. It also invites contributions on the neuronal substrate of this computational procedure and raises the question whether this neuronal faculty sub serves grammar as well as other recursive systems, including mathematics and music. Finally, it invites contributions that deepen our understanding of the relations between biology and language impairments.

The questions raised thus include, without being limited to, the following:

What is the computational procedure giving rise to the discrete infinity of language? What do we know about its neuronal substrate? Why does this procedure seems to be limited in some cases, e.g. complements, and unbounded in other cases, e.g. adjuncts? Does this computational procedure also sub serves mathematics and music? How do interfaces propagate language creativity? How does language creativity relate to the genetically attested language disorders and speech impairments?

This conference is part of the cycle of conferences organized by the International Biolinguistic Network and will be held at the Université du Québec à Montréal on September 25-27, 2011.

The Conferences organized by the International Biolinguistic Network are supported by the Major Collaborative Research on Interface Asymmetries funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and by the Dynamic Interfaces project funded by the Government of Quebec Fonds de recherche sur la société et la culture.

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