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Linguistics Circle talk: Ewa Dabrowska

Date: 30 January 2014 Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: Frankland Colloquium (Faraday Building)

The first Linguistics Circle talk this term will be given by Ewa Dabrowska from University of Northumbria about "Language in the community and in the mind".

The talk will take place on Thursday 30th January at 6pm in Frankland Colloquium (Faraday Building). Please see the abstract below for more information.

You can also find the facebook event here:


Why are languages the way they are? Cognitive theories attempt to explain language structure by appealing to cognitive mechanisms, which may include general abilities such as categorization and pattern-finding skills, innate linguistic representations, or some combination of the two; functional theories, on the other hand, emphasize discourse pressures and processing limitations. While it is undeniable that both of these play an important role, I will argue that many aspects of grammar are best understood by appealing to cultural factors such as language transmission, community size, exotericity, standarization and education. I will argue that higher-level patterns in language are not necessarily represented in individual speakers' mental grammars, and that community grammars are typically more regular than the grammars of individual speakers. In other words, languages belong to communities, and individual speakers "own" only parts of their language.


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Linguistics and English Language


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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