Universiteit van Amsterdam

Events

Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

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10-11 June 2004, Linguistic Perspectives on Numerical Expressions, Utrecht Institute of Linguistics-OTS

Date: 10-11 June 2004
Location: Utrecht Institute of Linguistics-OTS

Knowledge of language and knowledge of the number system are two cognitive capacities that have been characterized as being genuinely human. A core property which is shared by these two cognitive domains is that of discrete infinity: just like the series of numbers goes on indefinitely (you can always add one more), you can go on building linguistic structures by adding new linguistic material to the already built structure, as in John and Peter and Sue and Betty and ... This property of discrete infinity accounts for the fact that there is no limit in principle to how many words a sentence may contain. In Language and Problems of Knowledge, Noam Chomsky speculates on the idea that the number faculty developed as a by-product of the language faculty. He states that we might think of the human number faculty as essentially an abstraction from human language, preserving the mechanisms of discrete infinity and eliminating the other special features of language. This thought-provoking idea suggests a certain relationship between knowledge of language and numerical knowledge. The general aim of the workshop is to further our understanding of this relationship between the two cognitive systems.

For more information, a program and an online registration form, see http://www.let.uu.nl/users/Joost.Zwarts/personal/numericals.htm

Please note that this newsitem has been archived, and may contain outdated information or links.