31 July 2012
4 - 5pm
Venue: Ground Floor Seminar Room (G010), UniServices House, 70 Symonds Street, Auckland
A Bioengineering research seminar by Dr Quentin Atkinson, Rutherford Discovery Fellow, Department of Psychology
Languages, like species, evolve through time. By comparing words, sounds and grammar across languages, it is possible to reconstruct ancestral relationships between languages, in much the same way as biologists infer species' ancestry by comparing their genes.
In this talk Dr Atkinson will show how methods from biology can be applied to linguistic data to test hypotheses about language family origins, the tempo and mode of language evolution, and even the origin of modern human language itself.
Dr Atkinson will also present results from a new collaborative project that explicitly models large-scale spatial processes of language change.