The Annual LINGUAE Lectures

Our group has organized the annual LINGUAE Lectures (initially called SIGMA Lectures). They are given by some of the most prominent world leaders on topics of current relevance to the interdisciplinary study of language. They are meant to provide a snapshot of what we take to be the most exciting research on language in fields as diverse as linguistics, psycholinguistics, philosophy, logic, primatology, musicology, and various areas of cognitive science.

Note: The LINGUAE group aims to study from a comparative perspective four natural systems that are linguistic or have language-like properties: spoken language, sign language, music, and non-human primate vocalizations.  

            We are delighted to announce that the 2017 LINGUAE Lectures will be given by Philip Tetlock                        (UPenn), a leading expert of the psychology of judgment.

            2017Philip Tetlock, psychology, expert judgment (University of Pennsylvania)

Lectures to be held on:

Lecture 1 on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, 11:30am-1pm, salle Jaures
Lecture 2 on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, 11:30am-1pm, salle Dussane

Abstract 1:
Forecasting Tournaments: When Can Narrowing Our Focus Deepen Our Understanding?

Forecasting in everyday life serves a messy mix of psychological and political functions, with accuracy only one of many goals. Forecasting tournaments are normative mechanisms for simplifying life. All that matters is accuracy at assigning accurate probability estimates to real-world events that often provoke strong political passions. This presentation will describe what has been learned from 33 years of research on forecasting tournaments that test skill at assigning probability estimates to a wide range of political-economic events, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Kim-Jong-un. These tournaments allow us to discover “who is more accurate about what?” and to explore the underlying cognitive and social drivers of accuracy. I conclude by exploring the latest directions that forecasting tournament research has taken, with special focus on the challenge of judging not only the accuracy of answers but also the quality of questions. I use as a test case the recent wave of speculation about a looming “Fourth Industrial Revolution that will be driven by strong forms of Artificial Intelligence and that will cause major dislocations in white-collar labor markets.”

Abstract 2:
Judging Judgment: Philosophical and Scientific Challenges

What exactly do people mean when they claim that someone has “good judgment”? I explore four major perspectives—logical-coherence, empirical-correspondence, ethical-moral and pragmatic—and discuss how far scientific methods have taken us in assessing each conception of good judgment. The most significant advances have been in developing logical-coherence and empirical-correspondence benchmarks for judging judgment. There are however serious in-principle limits on how far purely value-neutral scientific methods of inquiry can advance our understanding of the ethical-moral and pragmatic conceptions of good judgment. These limits do not however imply no progress can be made. Ethical-moral dimensions can be partly captured in signal-detection models that specify how observers from clashing schools of thought set their tolerance thresholds of proof for making false-positive and false-negative classification judgments. And pragmatic conceptions can be partly captured by simulation models that capture how observers make judgments about counterfactual history, about what would have happened if liked or disliked leaders had made different choices at key event junctures. But “good judgment” can never be fully objectified.

        2016: Marie Coppola, psychology, sign language, language emergence (University of Connecticut)

        2015: Didier Demolin, primate communication, human sound systems and music (University of Paris 3)

        2014: Susan Goldin-Meadow, gesture, sign and language (University of Chicago)

        2013: Karen Emmorey, sign language psycholinguistics (San Diego State)

        2012: Fred Lerdahl, music cognition (Columbia University)

        2011: Klaus Zuberbühler, primatology (University of St Andrews)


        2010: Hannes Leitgeb, logic (Bristol University; now University of Munich)

        2009: Roger Schwarzschild, semantics (Rutgers University)

2016 LINGUAE Lectures: Marie Coppola
psychology, sign language, language emergence (University of Connecticut)

Lecture I: The effects of language experience on the development of number representations and in deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing children and adults

Date: Tuesday, Jan. 10th, 11:30-1pm

Location: ENS, 29, rue d'Ulm, 75005 - Salle Jaurès

Language: English and International Sign

Lecture II: Unexpected routes to language: Evidence from child and adult homesign systems

Date: Wednesday, Jan. 11th  11:30-1:30pm

Location: ENS, 29, rue d'Ulm, 75005 - Salle Langevin

Language: English and International Sign

2015 LINGUAE Lectures: Didier Demolin
(Laboratoire de Phonétique et de Phonologie, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3)

Lecture I: Grammatical structures in animal communication and the evolution of language

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 2nd, 11:30-1pm

Location: ENS, 29, rue d'Ulm, 75005 - Salle Langevin

Language: English

Lecture II: Dynamics and diversity of sound systems in human languages

Date: Friday, Dec. 4th  11:30-1:30pm

Location: ENS, 29, rue d'Ulm, 75005 - Salle Prestige 1

Language: English

Lecture III: Syntactic structures and organization in music from the perspective of oral tradition musical systems

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 8th  11:30-2pm

Location: ENS, 29, rue d'Ulm, 75005 - Salle Langevin

Language: English

2014 LINGUAE Lectures: Susan Goldin-Meadow: December 16th and 17th, 2014

More on the Susan Goldin-Meadow Laboratory here.

Lecture I: Gesture as a mechanism of change

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 16th  10:30-12

Location: Ecole Normale Supérieure, 45 rue d’Ulm, Salle Cavaillès

Language: English

Lecture II: From homesign to sign language:  Creating language in the manual modality

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 17th  11:30-14

Location: Ecole Normale Supérieure, 45 rue d'Ulm, Salle Becket

Language: English

2013 LINGUAE Lectures: Karen Emmorey: December 2nd and 4th, 2013

More on Karen Emmorey as Professor at San Diego State University and director of the Laboratory for Language and Cognitive Neuroscience here.

Lecture I:  Psycholinguistic studies of sign language

DateMonday, Dec. 2nd 16.30-18
Location: Institut National de Jeunes Sourds de Paris 254, rue Saint-Jacques, 75005 Paris

Languages: English and International Sign

Lecture II: The neural underpinnings of sign language
DateWednesday, Dec. 4th 11.30-13
Location: Institut Jean-Nicod, Seminar Room  29, Rue d'Ulm, Pavillon Jardin ground floor.
Languages: English and International Sign

2012 LINGUAE Lectures: Fred Lerdahl: 19-21-23 November, 2012

Fred Lerdahl (Columbia University) gave the 2012 Annual LINGUAE Lectures on November 19th, 21st and 23rd, 2012.  The slides are available below

More on Fred Lerdahl as a composer and music theorist here.

More on the Annual LINGUAE Lectures here.

Lecture IMusical Syntax and Its Relation to Linguistic Syntax

DateMonday, Nov. 2nd 11:00-1pm
Salle 2, Collège de France, 11, place Marcelin Berthelot, 75005 Paris

Languages: English



Lecture II: The Sounds of Poetry Viewed as Music

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 21st 11:00-1pm
Salle de Réunion IJN-LSCP, Pavillon, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 29, rue d'Ulm

Languages: English



Lecture III: Tonal Space, Motion, and Force

Date: Friday, Nov. 23rd 11:00-1pm
Salle de Réunion IJN-LSCP, Pavillon, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 29, rue d'Ulm

Languages: English


Committee of the LINGUAE Lectures

Updated: June 11, 2017    

Denis Bonnay (U. Paris 10 and DEC)

Heather Burnett (LLF/CNRS)

Emmanuel Chemla (LSCP)

Alejandrina Cristia (LSCP)

Caterina Donati (Université de Paris 7)

Paul Egré (Institut Jean-Nicod)

Carlo Geraci (Institut Jean-Nicod)

Salvador Mascarenhas (ENS/Institut Jean-Nicod)

Philippe Schlenker (Institut Jean-Nicod and NYU)

Benjamin Spector (Institut Jean-Nicod)

Isidora Stojanovic (Institut Jean-Nicod)

Brent Strickland (Institut Jean-Nicod)