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讲座题目: Praxis, symbol and language: an EcoEvoDevo account of language evolution

讲座嘉宾Chris Sinha 教授

人:王小潞 教授

讲座时间:20171128日(周二)上午9:30~11:30

讲座地点:紫金港校区东五201会议室

 

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Abstract:

 

The central theme of this presentation is the interweaving in language evolution of constructive praxis with communication, within the broad theoretical framework known as EcoEvoDevo: that is, the “triple helix” of ecogenesis (biocultural niche evolution), phylogenesis and ontogenesis. I begin with a discussion of the main current theories of language evolution. I then introduce niche construction theory, emphasizing the interpenetration in the human biocultural niche-complex of semiosphere and technosphere, mediated by ontogenetic processes. The introduction of the notion of technosphere leads to an exposition of the interrelations in human ontogenetic development between affordance, action schema and canonical functional object schema. There follows an outline account of language as an artifactual niche. I distinguish between the symbol-ready and the language-ready brain, leading to a discussion of linguistic conceptualization and its dual grounding in organism and language system. A speculative model of the neuro-computational implementation of dual grounding is proposed, and a pathway suggested for its evolution.

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Prof. Chris Sinha’s BioNote: He is Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science at the School of Foreign Languages, Hunan University. He gained his BA in Developmental Psychology at the University of Sussex and his doctorate (cum laude) at the University of Utrecht. Before moving to Hunan University in 2014, Chris taught in departments of Education, Psychology, and Language and Communication, in Brazil, Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, India, and Sweden, including two previous positions at Faculty full professor rank. He held the position of Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth, 2002-2005. He is an experienced lecturer at international conferences (including 33 keynote and plenary lectures at international conferences), and has taught at many graduate and research schools. He is Past President of the UK Cognitive Linguistics Association and of the International Cognitive Linguistics Association; General Editor of the journal Language and Cognition; and a member of three international journal editorial boards and four book series editorial boards.

Chris Sinha's central research interest is in the relations between language, cognition and culture, and a main aim of his research is to integrate cognitive with socio-cultural approaches to language, communication and human development. He is experienced in field experimental and observational methods. He has authored 2 monographs and 130+ articles, and edited 4 volumes, in disciplines including anthropology, linguistics, education, evolutionary biology, connection science, as well as developmental and cultural psychology.

Chris Sinha is research leader of a project beginning 2015 researching and documenting minority languages and cultures of Hunan Province. He has been co-ordinator of the Language Acquisition and Cognition Network, funded by the Danish Research Council for the Humanities (1997-2001); Principal Investigator of the project "Cognition, Culture and Typology in Language Acquisition and Evolution", funded under the European Science Foundation EUROCORES research programme Origin of Man, Language and Languages (2002-2005); and University of Portsmouth Partner Leader for the project 'Stages in the Development and Evolution of Sign Use' (SEDSU), funded by the European Union under the 6th Framework PATHFINDER initiative 'What it Means to Be Human' (2005-2008). He was the main proposer for the ESF EUROCORES Programme “Understanding and Misunderstanding: Cognition, Communication and Culture”, adopted by the ESF General Council in 2010.