Thu
12Jan
UTC
6:00pm
Online

Are all human languages the same?

Professor Simon Kirby

If a Martian linguist were to study the languages of the world, what would they conclude about how many we had? What forces shape our language?

Learn about this Garden Talk

Language is always changing, evolving, and adapting to the needs of its users.

If a Martian linguist were to study the languages of the world, what would they conclude about how many we had? Surprisingly, influential human linguists have radically different answers to this question! Some say that all human languages are essentially the same except for minor details. Others say that they are all so different that there are no universal features that unite them.

Simon Kirby is a Professor of Language Evolution at the University of Edinburgh and the Founder of the Centre for Language Evolution there, which takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying language emergence & evolution.

In his Garden talk Simon reveals a fascinating story about the forces that shape language, and ultimately, the very nature of the human mind.

Talk outline

Duration

50 minutes

What to expect

30 minute talk

20 minute Member Q&A

Professor Simon Kirby

Simon Kirby is Professor of Language Evolution at the University of Edinburgh and an elected Fellow of the British Academy, Royal Society of Edinburgh, and Cognitive Science Society.

Evolution of Language Collection

How do languages evolve?  From the origins of language to bilingualism, this series journeys into the mysteries of this uniquely human trait and the power it has to change our world.

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