February 5, 2014

Jackman Lecture Series: Ianthi Tsimpli

The first talk of the Jackman Lecture Series "Beyond Babel: Meanings in the Minds of Speakers" takes place this Friday, Feb 7, starting at 3pm (sharp) in the Jackman Humanities Building at 170 St. George Street (Room 100).

Ianthi Tsimpli (University of Reading, UK & Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)

"Aspects of meaning in the bilingual mind"

Abstract: There has been a long-standing debate on whether the two languages of a bilingual speaker interact or are autonomous in the mind/brain. The evidence available so far indicates that for some domains of language, interaction is extensive while for others autonomy is preserved. Meaning is one of the domains where interaction between the two languages is found both at the word level (lexical meaning) and at the sentence level, especially where more demanding processing is required: the level of connected discourse and pragmatics. I will review evidence from child and adult bilinguals as well as from the case of an exceptional multilingual individual with autism (a polyglot-savant) to address the question of meaning interaction in bilingual minds.

Note: Ianthi's initial work was with Neil Smith, and Christopher, the best known language savant case. The LSA youtube channel has several fascinating documentary pieces on Christopher. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cEol-oboyg

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