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Language: A Conversation

"Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem,uniquely determined by the external world."Albert Einstein, in Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld.The Evolution of Physics. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1938.

Language and language usage seems like an area where a broad conversation bringing together people who do not usually work together would be useful. Language is a matter of both theoretical/conceptual inquiry and of practical/cultural/social importance. To bring these perspectives together, a language working group has been formed to invite speakers to the community, assemble relevant web materials, and encourage continuing conversation. People who are interested in joining this conversation are invited to contact Eric Raimy, Paul Grobstein, or Anne Dalke.

On Line Forum for continuing discussion

Spring 2004 Meetings:
Wednesdays 1:30-3, Garden Room of English House


Sharon Burgmayer,"Layers"
For an exhibit of earlier work see Transformation

Schedule and Discussion Links









3/24/04 Special Issue: Evolution of Language Science Magazine: 303, #5662 (February 27, 2004).
3/03/04 Louis Menand "Cat People: What Dr. Seuss Really Taught Us." The New Yorker. (December 23 & 30, 2003).
2/04/04Jeffrey Elman "Finding Structure in Time." Cognitive Science 14 (1990): 179-211.
  Jonathan Culler "Language, Meaning,and Interpretation." Chapter 4 of Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction
12/18/03 Douglas HofstadterChapter 7 ( "The Location of Meaning") from Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
11/20/03 Douglas HofstadterChapters 11-12 ("Brains and Thoughts" and "Minds and Thoughts") from Godel, Escher, Bach
10/23/03 Tor NorretrandersChapters 5-7 ("The Tree of Talking," "The Bandwidth of Consciousness" and "The Bomb of Psychology") from The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size
9/18/03 Ray JackendoffChapter 12: The argument for the construction of experience," Chapter 14: "Language as a window on thought," and Chapter 15: "Social Organization," from Patterns in the Mind: Language and Human Nature
4/23/03 Donald Spence "The Mythic Properties of Popular Explanations." Believed-in Imaginings : The Narrative Construction of Reality Ed. Joseph de Rivera and Theodore R. Sarbin (1998): 217-228.
  Wolfgang Iser "The Reading Process: A Phenomenological Approach." Reader-Response Criticism: From Formalism to Post-Structuralism. Ed. JaneTompkins (1980).
4/02/03 Jerome Bruner Chapter Two: "Folk Psychology as an Instrument of Culture"
Acts of Meaning (1990)
3/19/03 Jerome Bruner Chapter Three: "Entry Into Meaning"
Acts of Meaning
3/05/03 Jerome Bruner Chapter One: "The Proper Study of Man"
Acts of Meaning
1/21/03 Edward Sapir Chapter Twelve, "Symbolism,"
The Psychology of Culture: A Course of Lectures (2002)
12/09/02 George Lakoff A discussion in the flesh
12/08/02 George Lakoff (Professor of Linguistics, University of California at Berkeley; Institute of Cognitive Studies). "The Brain, The Mind and Language: Why They Matter in Personal Life, In Politics, and Throughout the Academic World"
12/02/02 George Lakoff Chapters 6-8. Philosophy in the Flesh
11/18/02 George Lakoff Chapters 4-5. Philosophy in the Flesh
11/4/02 DJ Chalmers, RM French and Douglas R. Hofstader "High-level Perception, Representation, and Analogy: A Critique of Artificial Intelligence Methodology." CRCC Technical Report 49, 1991 Accessible on campus from http://emergent.brynmawr.edu/~dblank/language-papers/
  Samuel Beckett Excerpts # 1, 4, 9, 13, Texts for Nothing (1958)
10/21/02 Roman Jacobson "Two Aspects of Language and Two Types of Aphasic Disturbances"
10/7/02 Samuel Beckett Excerpts # 1, 4, 9, 13, Texts for Nothing (1958)
  Mary Thomas Crane "Male Pregnancy and Cognitive Permeability in Measure for Measure"
Shakespeare's Brain: Reading with Cognitive Theory
9/23/02 Derek Bickerton "Creole Languages," Scientific American(1983)
  Mary Thomas Crane Shakespeare's Brain: Reading with Cognitive Theory (Introduction)
9/9/02 Alex Byrne and David Hilbert "Color Realism and Color Science"
4/29/02 Peggy Li and Lila Gleitman "Turning the Tables: Language and Spatial Reasoning," Cognition 83 (2002): 265-294
4/18/02 Colin Phillips "Hierarchical Language Structure in the Brain: Two Challenges"
4/15/02 George Lakoff Philosophy in the Flesh (Chs 1&3)
4/1/02   The "Play" Theory of Language
3/18/02   "Does a thermostat desire to keep the room a certain temperature?"
3/4/02 Steven Pinker The Language Instinct (Chs 3-4)
  Elaine Scarry Dreaming By the Book (Chs 4-6)
2/18/02 William Labov "Learning to read: Linguistic Light and Dark Corners of the Mind"
2/4/02 Steven Pinker The Language Instinct (Chs 1-2)
  Elaine Scarry Dreaming By the Book (Chs 1-3)
11/26/01 Organizational Meeting



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