Interdisciplinary applications of linguistic concepts (5cr)

Master courses
Mandatory Linguistics courses
Start / End: 
05/10/2020 - 20/12/2020
Mondays, 15:00 - 18:00
UB, Facultat de Filologia, Josep Carner Building, Room 4.3. Contact instructor before class.

The goal of is to familiarize students with the challenges of interdisciplinary, using ‘biolinguistics’ (in a broad sense of the term) as an example of a field where these challenges arise. The class will be highly interactive, and the depth in which the topics will be  will in part by determined by students' participation and responses. 




Structure and Contents: 

The course will be structured around 5 main themes: the first will introduce the overall biolinguistics agenda; the second will look into questions of cognitive phylogeny; the third  will focus on bridging the gap between mental and neural descriptions; the fourth  will deal with recent advances and challenges from genetics; and the last part of the course will revisit a classic text by Lenneberg in light of all the issues discussed in class


Lectures and discussion.



A 10-page essay is to be written on a topic to be agreed with the relevant instructor.





Boeckx, C. 2013. Biolinguistics: Forays into Human Cognitive Biology. Journal of Anthropological Sciences 91:63-89.

De Waal FB, and P Ferrari. 2010. Towards a bottom-up perspective on animal and human cognition.Trends in Cognitive Science. 2010 May;14(5):201-7.

Fisher, S. and S. Vernes. 2015. Genetics and Language sciences. Annual Review of Linguistics 1: 289-310.

Fitch, W. T., L. Huber and T. Bugnyar. 2010. Social Cognition and the Evolution of Language: Constructing Cognitive Phylogenies. Neuron 65, 795-814.

Lenneberg, E. 1969. On Explaining Language. Science 164, 635-643.

Pääbo S. 2014. The human condition-a molecular approach. Cell 157(1):216-26.

Poeppel, D. 2012. The maps problem and the mapping problem: Two challenges for a cognitive neuroscience of speech and language. Cogn Neuropsychol, 29(1-2):34-55.

Poeppel, D. 2014 The neuroanatomic and neurophysiological infrastructure for speech and language. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 28:142–149

Theofanopoulou, C. and C. Boeckx. 2015. Cognitive phylogenies, the Darwinian logic of descent, and the inadequacy of cladistic thinking (with Constantina Theofanopoulou). Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology (Evolutionary Developmental Biology) 3, 64.

Here are a few useful books you may want to have access to, if you are curious:
Boeckx, C. 2010. Language in Cognition. Wiley-Blackwell

Dediu, D. 2015. An introduction to genetics for language scientists. Cambridge University Press.
Fitch, W.T. 2010. The evolution of language. Cambridge University Press.
Hurford, J. 2014. The origins of language. Oxford University Press