The next event in the Department of Linguistics Winter 2019 Colloquium Series will be held on Friday, February 15. U-M Assistant Professor of Linguistics Natasha Abner will present “Handmade Events” at 4 p.m. in room B1570 Ross School of Business.

Light refreshments will be served. All are welcome!



Handmade Events

Events in the world unfold in different ways and the way we use language to talk about the world reflects these differences. However, a central tenet of contemporary linguistics is that language is not an “anything goes” kind of system. In this talk, I’ll present a series of studies that explore communicative (and, to a lesser extent, cognitive) biases in how we talk about events, focusing on what happens when how we talk about events is with our hands. These studies examine (a) abstract linguistic structures that underlie both sign and speech, (b) modality effects that shape how these structures are manifested in signed versus spoken languages, and (c) patterns in gesture that suggest certain phenomena may be driven by broader communicative biases and not restricted to language.