The Norwegian Summer Institute on Language and Mind 2018

July 31, 2018 - August 10, 2018
University of Oslo

Seminar room 1 (‘Undervisningsrom 1’), Sophus Bugges building
Niels Henrik Abels vei 36

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


  • Norwegian Graduate Researcher School in Linguistics and Philology
  • University of Maryland at College Park

All speakers:

Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London
University of Oslo
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
University of Oslo
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
University of Oslo
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
New York University
University of Maryland, College Park
University College London


University of Oslo
University of Oslo
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
University of Maryland, College Park

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What is the summer institute and who is it for?

The institute brings graduate students (MA-level and doctoral researchers) up to date with developments in work on language and mind by presenting classes with leading researchers in the relevant fields. These include linguists, psychologist and other cognitive scientists open to philosophical issues, and philosophers focused on linguistics and the cognitive sciences. 

Theme for the institute in 2018: Cognition, representation and the mind/brain

Work in cognitive science and linguistics relies on the idea that the mind/brain performs computations over representations. This year we focus specifically on the relation of proposed computations regarding syntax and the pragmatics of utterance intepretation to experimental and neurological research, addressing especially issues of memory and economy. This will raise more general issues of what constraints computational and neurological theories place on each other, as well as whether there a single notion of representation employed in such computational accounts of, e.g. navigation and vision, where there’s often an independent external reality, and grammar and language, where there may not be one. The lectures are correspondingly divided into three different strands: syntax and the brain, theoretical and experimental pragmatics, and foundational questions about computational/representation theories of cognition.

The teaching

Classes are from Tuesday – Saturday and then Monday – Friday.

The first day will have introductory lectures to get everyone up to speed with the relevant parts of linguistics, philosophy and psychology.

For the rest of the course, days will include 90 minute classes on each of the three "strands" (see below). Teaching will be discursive, with plenty of time for questions and answers in each class.

There will also be two round-table discussion sessions, where we will discuss issues across the strands, guided by student questions.


Syntax and the brain

Invited Lecturers: David Adger (Queen Mary) and Liina Pylkkanen (New York University)

Lecturer/convenor: Terje Lohndal

Topics to include: syntactic representations and neuroscience, brain areas involved in representing syntactic structure, computational vs. algorithmic vs. implementational approaches to syntax, the role of memory and economy considerations in syntactic theory

Pragmatics: Theory and experiment

Invited Lecturers: Ira Noveck (CNRS) and Deirdre Wilson (UCL), plus Ingrid Lossius Falkum (University of Oslo)

Lecturer/convenor: Nicholas Allott

Topic: the current state-of-the-art in theoretical and experimental pragmatics, including: how hearers bridge the gap between linguistic meaning and utterance content; the kinds of neurological measures used in recent experimental pragmatics; the role of effort factors in utterance interpretation; and lexical pragmatics and figurative speech.

Foundational questions about computational/representation theories of cognition

Invited Lecturers: Rosa Cao (Stanford) and Randy Gallistel (Rutgers)

Lecturer/convenors: Carsten Hansen and Georges Rey

Topics to include: What constraints does computational cognitive science place on neuroscience and what constraints does neuroscience place on computational models? What sort of general architecture is plausible for the brain: classical, connectionist, map-like, analog? In what sense do the computational states employ representations? Is there a single notion of representation that covers e.g. navigation, vision, where there’s often an independent external reality, and grammar and language (where there seems not to be one)?


The classes at the summer institute are free for all registered participants.

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April 2, 2018, 11:45pm CET

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