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Language: Evolution, its Use and Social Interaction


Koordination: Dr. Rosario Tomasello

Where? J 27/14 (Habelschwerdter Allee 45)

Time: Do, 16:00-18:00

First Meeting: 21.10.2021

Number of participants: 44

Limitation of participant number: Yes

Compulsory participation: Yes

SWS: 2

Attention: Due to the high number of registrations, the first two classes will be held online via Webex. FU students will get the login data via Blackboard, Mind and Brain students will be informed by the M&B course coordinator. If you did not get the login-information please do not hesitate to ask for it via email (tomasello.r@fu-berlin.de and j.knechtges@fu-berlin.de)!



The aim of this seminar is to provide a comprehensive insight into the evolution of language, covering both biological and cultural evolutionary changes. Special emphasis is placed on the sub-discipline of linguistic pragmatics, which deals with language as a tool of communication in social contexts. Based on fundamental work from Analytical Philosophy and the Philosophy of Action, concepts fundamental to linguistic pragmatics and dialogue/communication analysis will be examined. The underlying mechanisms in mind and brain of linguistic actions and their evolution will be discussed in the realm of neurocognitive experimental research, together with insights into neurocomputational modelling. Recent relevant work on the neural basis of understanding and performing communicative actions in the context of language, gesture and intonation will be covered, taking into account social interaction, turn-taking and common ground. It is also planned to present current research within the priority programme of the German Research Foundation "XPrag.de - Experimental Pragmatic Theories based on Experimental Evidence" as well as to visit the brain and language research laboratory - if this is possible during the pandemic period, otherwise livestreaming will be arranged. The seminar is intended to stimulate the participants' scientific work. Please note that the seminar will be conducted in English. References: Tomasello M. 2010. Origins of human communication, MIT press. Schomers MR, Garagnani M, Pulvermüller F. 2017. Neurocomputational Consequences of Evolutionary Connectivity Changes in Perisylvian Language Cortex. J Neurosci. 37:3045–3055. Pickering, M. J., & Garrod, S. (2004). Toward a mechanistic psychology of dialogue. Behav Brain Sci, 27(2), 169-190; discussion 190-226. Tomasello, R., Kim, C., Dreyer, F. R., Grisoni, L., & Pulvermüller, F. (2019). Neurophysiological evidence for rapid processing of verbal and gestural information in understanding communicative actions. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 16285. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-52158-w Boux I*, Tomasello R*, Grisoni L, Pulvermüller F. (2021). Brain signatures predict communicative function of speech production in interaction. Cortex. 135:127–145. *Equal Contribution.