Main content

Top content


Language: Evolution, its use, and social interaction




What are the fundamental traits that define human communication? What aspects of human communication are unique and set us apart? What are the notable differences and similarities between human and animal communication? Can these differences and similarities be attributed to evolutionary changes in brain structure between humans and our closest evolutionary relatives? The aim of this seminar is to provide comprehensive insights into language evolution, covering both biological and cultural changes. We will explore thought-provoking questions based on theories of language evolution, the differences between human and animal communication and the reasons for humans' ability to acquire a vast vocabulary compared to our closest ancestors. Through exploring neurocognitive and comparative experimental research, we will examine the underlying mechanisms in the human mind and brain that govern language processing, usage, and evolution. The course will emphasize linguistic pragmatics, a sub-discipline that studies language as a communication tool in social contexts, drawing on foundational concepts from analytical philosophy and linguistic pragmatic models and linking this to language evolution theories. Throughout these discussions, we will consider factors like social interaction, turn-taking, and common ground across different species and communication systems.

Tomasello M. 2004. Origins of human communication, MIT press.
Schomers MR, Garagnani M, Pulvermüller F. 2017. Neurocomputational Consequences of Evolutionary Connectivity Changes in Perisylvian Language Cortex. J Neurosci. 37:3045–3055.
Pickering, M. J., & Garrod, S. (2004). Toward a mechanistic psychology of dialogue. Behav Brain Sci, 27(2), 169-190; discussion 190-226.
Tomasello, R. (2023). Linguistic signs in action: The neuropragmatics of speech acts. Brain & Language 236:105203.

Weitere Angaben

Ort: 35/E01: Di. 16:00 - 18:00 (14x), 94/E01 - E-Prüf-Raum: Mittwoch, 10.07.2024 16:00 - 18:00, 94/E03 - E-Prüf-Raum: Mittwoch, 10.07.2024 16:00 - 18:00, 94/E06 - E-Prüf-Raum: Mittwoch, 10.07.2024 16:00 - 18:00
Zeiten: Di. 16:00 - 18:00 (wöchentlich), Ort: 35/E01, Termine am Mittwoch, 10.07.2024 16:00 - 18:00, Ort: 94/E01 - E-Prüf-Raum, 94/E03 - E-Prüf-Raum, 94/E06 - E-Prüf-Raum
Erster Termin: Dienstag, 02.04.2024 16:00 - 18:00, Ort: 35/E01
Veranstaltungsart: Seminar (Offizielle Lehrveranstaltungen)
ECTS-Punkte: 4
Art der Durchführung: Hybrid-Sitzungen ohne Video-Aufzeichnung (Teilnahme in Präsenz oder per Videokonferenz/Livestream) [hybrid]


  • Veranstaltungen > Cognitive Science > Bachelor-Programm
  • Veranstaltungen > Cognitive Science > Master-Programm
  • Courses in English > Human Sciences (e.g. Cognitive Science, Psychology)