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lun. 21/09/2015 Séminaires Steve Moran & Damian Blasi (University of Zurich)
14h30-16h30
ISH, salle André Frossard
Conférence de :
  • Steve Moran (University of Zurich)
  • Damian Blasi (University of Zurich)

14h30-15h30 : “The ACQDIV project and database” (Steve Moran)

Le projet ACQDIV - Acquisition processes in maximally diverse languages: min(d)ing the ambient language - est un projet récemment financé par l’European Research Council et conduit par Sabine Stoll (University of Zurich). Il porte sur l’acquisition du langage dans une perspective translinguistique. Les langues étudiées ont été choisies avec l’idée d’une différenciation la plus importante possible : Cree, Chintang, Indonesian, Inuktitut, Japanese, Russian, Sesotho, Turkish, Yucatec.

Steve Moran est en charge des bases de données et de la partie technique du projet. Il présentera l’arrière-plan du projet et le corpus de données utilisé – en particulier comment des ressources disparates sont regroupées et unifiées pour de futures analyses. La page du projet : www.acqdiv.uzh.ch/

15h30-16h30 : “Global sound-meaning association biases and the typological bottleneck on language research” (Damian Blasi)

Worldwide non-arbitrary associations between sound and meaning have consistently attracted the attention of researchers from different fields outside linguistics, where the phenomenon has been systematically regarded as marginal. This is not without certain degree of justification: arguments were based either on experimental work based on a single or few populations of speakers -usually 20-something undergrad students of Psychology- or on the observation of a few dozen languages, with the usual Western European languages being overrepresented among those.

In this presentation, I will show the results of the analysis of a large lexical database that covers well over 2/3 of the world's languages. Even by assuming very stringent conditions, I will demonstrate that there exist consistent and robust associations that cannot be attributed to a common genealogical origin or to language contact. I will then test some of the claims that have been made about non-arbitrary sound-meaning associations regarding their function, spread and phylogenetic persistence. Finally, I will sketch some of the direct consequences of these results to the study of human history.


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