Writing as tool use-- are there "practical universals" of writing?: public talk by Dr. Mark Hansell

April 12, 2011

The Carleton Linguistics Department invites everyone to the next talk in the Carleton Linguistics Colloquium Series.

Writing as tool use-- are there "practical universals" of writing?
Dr. Mark Hansell
Professor of Chinese and Director of East Asian Studies, Carleton College
Friday, 15 April 2011, Goodsell 03, 4:00 pm

The idea of language universals is based on the notion that humans have a biological predisposition toward language. Since writing is an invention rather than a biological inheritance, that notion of universals should not apply. However, if we view writing as one instance of tool-using behavior, we may be able to make generalizations that help explain common, widespread phenomena in the world's writing systems. I will sketch out what a system of these "practical universals" might look like, and use them to try to explain some especially problematic data from Japanese.

All are invited to attend a reception following the talk.



Please mark your calendars for the next colloquium in the series. Dr. Hooi Ling Soh of the University of Minnesota will speak on Friday, 6 May 2011, at 4:00. Details to follow.