Linguistics/Cognitive Semiotics Seminar: "The Inferential Foundation of Human Language" (Dan Everett, Bentley University)
In this last seminar for the year, we have the pleasure to have the distinguished Trustee Professor of Cognitive Sciences Daniel Everett as speaker, via zoom! The topic of the talk, the role of inference in sign interpretation (which we discussed earlier in relation to Rudi Keller's book) with analyses of Pirahã, for which Dan Everett is famous, is highly relevant for the disciplines of Linguistics and Cognitive Semiotics, which host this seminar as a joint event. Welcome to room H402 if you can, and for a "post-seminar" afterwards if you can! Mehdi and Jordan
In this talk I explore some basic ideas of inference as developed in the philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce (deduction, abduction, induction) and how, in my understanding of the transductive journey from perception or knowledge to purported understanding, we can achieve a novel and, I argue, useful conceptualization of linguistic interpretations as inference over signs. The talk focuses on temporal interpretations and syntax in English and Pirahã, concluding that standard linguistic devices, e.g. compositionality, syntax, and the lexicon, should be at a minimum complemented by a more explict role for inference in intersubjective engagement. As developed here, inference is not merely to be found in the "pragmatic domain" of human languages, but throughout the system, from the interpretability of ungrammatical sentences to the understanding of temporal interpretations and much more. The talk begins with definitions of Peircean inference types, proceeds to show roles for all three in English temporal semantics and then concludes with an examination of languages, especially Pirahã, in which the mapping from syntax to semantics is so incomplete as to question the role of compositionality in interpretation. The conclusion will be that a principal role of language structures is to provide “inferential anchoring” to human communication.
Plats: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/61502831303 + room H402