4/29: Language and Cognition Seminar

Language and Cognition
University Seminar #681
Meeting of April 29, 2010

“The relation(s) between linguistics and neurobiology”

David Poeppel
Department of Psychology and Neural Science
New York University

The enthusiasm for neurobiological research into the basis of language suggests that progress is being made regarding our understanding of how the brain computes with linguistic representations. Is this enthusiasm warranted? In which domains of brain-language relations is there credible progress? While there are grounds for optimism that we are beginning to understand where to look in the brain, we do not understand very much at all about how linguistic representations and computations are implemented — the putative goal of the overall research program. Recent experimental work using different brain imaging methodologies will exemplify how complex the (many) relations between brain organization and language architecture are (the ‘granularity problem’), and in which areas of inquiry there is hope for genuine interdisciplinary insight into the mechanisms that form the basis for language processing.

Place: Room 1512, Kellogg Center
School of International and Public Affairs
420 West 118th Street
Time: 4:00 PM

For directions to the School of International and Public Affairs, please refer to
this map.

RSVP: If you will attend the meeting on April 29, please send a note to:
Sara Maria Hasbun, rapporteur

If you will join Dr. Poeppel for dinner at the Faculty House after the meeting,
please indicate this in your note to Ms. Hasbun.



Dear linguists,

Here’s wishing you a delightful spring break, wherever you’re going (or staying)! For your reading pleasure, here’s an overview of upcoming events:

  • March 26-27: The Trace Foundation: “Minority Languages in Today’s Global Society: Perspectives on Language Standardization.” The lecture will focus on Tibetan, Kurdish, and Hungarian.
  • March 26: Professor Julia Hirschberg, Computer Science at Columbia: “Knowing When to Speak: Turn Management in Spoken Dialogue Systems”
  • March 31: Professor Ann Seghas on Nicaraguan sign language:  “Social Scaffolding for Language Genesis: Why Nicaraguan Sign Language Emerged When, Where and How it Did”
  • April 1: Professor Robert Remez on voice recognition: “I would know that voice anywhere! The role of phonetic sensitivity in the perceptual identification of talkers.”
  • April 30: “Workshops on Meaning: Language and Socio-cultural Processes”, co-sponsored by the Columbia Linguistics Society, presents Dr. William Labov.

More details to come…

Language and Cognition Seminar – How speakers’ eye movements reflect language production

Our next event is coming up! Dr. Zenzi M. Griffin, from the University of Texas, is coming to give a seminar on Thursday, September 25th. This event is part of a series of Language and Cognition seminars that take place over the course of the year. This seminar will be on eye movements and language production. Dr. Griffin writes:

“When people describe visually presented scenes, they gaze at each object for approximately one second before articulating its name (Griffin & Bock, 2000). Further research indicates that speakers’ eye movements often reveal when they retrieve the words that they use to refer to visible (or recently visible) referents. I will discuss how the relationship between gaze and planning is being extended to address other questions about how people speak.”

Room 1512, Kellogg Center
School of International and Public Affairs
420 West 118th Street

September 25th, 4:00 PM

For directions to SIPA, see this map:


RSVP: If you will attend the meeting on September 25, please send a note to:

Sara Maria Hasbun, rapporteur

If you would like to join Dr. Griffin for dinner in the neighborhood after the meeting, please let Sara Maria know.