Interactional foundations of Language: The Interaction Engine hypothesis

Lelepa Women's Band

Event details


Date & time

Monday 25 February 2019


MacDonalds Room, RG Menzies Building (#2)


Professor Stephen Levinson, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics


Christopher Ballard

SYNAPSE: The CHL Trans-disciplinary Seminar

Join guest speaker Professor Stephen Levinson in this first Trans-disciplinary Seminar Series presented by School of Culture, History and Language and Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Languages.

Stephen’s research focusses on language diversity and its implications for theories of human cognition. Language is the only animal communication system that differs radically in form and meaning across social groups of the same species, a fact that has been neglected in the cognitive sciences.

His work attempts both to grasp what this diversity is all about, and to exploit it as a way of discovering the role that language plays in our everyday cognition.

Humans have a special communication and interaction ability that makes language possible, rather than the other way around.

The ‘interaction engine’ can be thought of as a package of these communication and interaction ablilities, which together provide an infrastructure that makes language possible to learn and effective to use.

The CHL trans-disciplinary seminar is intended as a forum for ideas that link and speak to the different disciplinary strands in the school. How might we identify the gaps – the synapses – between our individual endeavours and interests, and assemble them together into something still more interesting and challenging? Fire up your synapses, and join us on the last Monday of each month at the CHL trans-disciplinary seminar.

Updated:  7 July 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, Culture, History & Language/Page Contact:  CHL webmaster