Linguistics Colloquium: Limor Raviv

15/03/2022 - 14:00 - 15:30

Limor Raviv, Max Planck Institute for Psycolinguistics in Nijmegen

Title: Language and society: How social pressures shape the grammar of languages

What are the social, environmental, and cognitive pressures that shape the evolution of language in our species? Why are there so many different languages in the world? And how did this astonishing linguistic diversity come about? These are some of the most interesting questions in the fields of cognitive science and linguistics, and represent the range of topics discussed in my research so far.
My work focuses on linking core aspects of language acquisition, language evolution, and language diversity using a range of novel behavioral paradigms and computational models. Specifically, I use a novel group communication paradigm to test how the process of language emergence is shaped by the fact that languages evolve in different types of communities, i.e., with different population sizes and different social network structures. My goal is to shed light on the communicative pressures and cognitive constraints (e.g., memory limitations, efficiency) that shape social interaction and language use in our species, and to identify the social, environmental, and cross-cultural factors that lead to language diversity and to cross-linguistic variation.
In this talk, I will provide an overview of my research (including methods and results from selected projects), as well as present future directions and ongoing work.


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