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Languages, stories and songbirds

Language of instruction: English

About the theme: Cultures exists by the grace of communication. If people did not have an effective communication system (language), there would be no education, our friendships would be very different, and we would not be able to create common structures such as science. Through communication, people can work together to create things that they could not do by themselves – that much is clear. But we also tell each other stories, seemingly without an immediately apparent benefit.

In this series of seminars we will study communication from a number of perspectives: Do people communicate differently than animals or robots? Do different linguistic structures also lead to different patterns of thought? How did language appear? What is the function of stories? And much more!

Languages, stories and birdsong

Lecturer: Prof. Arie Verhagen focuses on behavioural biological and cultural aspects of language. He studied Dutch at VU University Amsterdam, where he also completed his dissertation on the function of word order in Dutch. He was senior lecturer in Text Linguistics at Utrecht University and has been Professor of Dutch Linguistics in Leiden since 1998.

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