CFA: Norwegian Summer Institute in Language & Mind, Due Apr 15

CFA: Norwegian Summer Institute in Language & Mind, Due Apr 15

Norwegian Summer Institute in Language & Mind brings graduate students up to date with developments in the intersection of work on language and mind by presenting classes with leading researchers in the relevant fields. These will include linguists open to philosophical issues, and philosophers focused on linguistics and the cognitive sciences.


Artemis Alexiadou (Humboldt University, Berlin)
Nicholas Allott (University of Oslo)
John Collins (University of East Anglia)
Frances Egan (Rutgers University)
Carsten Hansen (University of Oslo)
Jeff Lidz (University of Maryland)
Terje Lohndal (NTNU, Trondheim, & UiT The Arctic University of Norway)
Paul Pietroski (University of Maryland)
Georges Rey (University of Maryland)
Neil Smith (University College London)

Theme for the institute in 2016: representation in language and mind

Representations and their role in computation have been a central assumption – and preoccupation – in modern linguistics and the cognitive sciences since the cognitive revolution of the early 1960s. Many live research problems hinge on representations: both the specifics in each area (syntax, semantics, vision etc.) – what is represented?; are there multiple levels of representation?; what constraints apply at which levels? – and more general questions – what is a representation?; what claim do we make when we say that something is represented in the mind?; what kinds of evidence bear on such claims? This year’s institute will try to bring together the often disparate discussions of the specific and general issues.

The teaching

Classes are on weekdays: Monday – Friday and then Monday – Wednesday. There are four strands of classes. Every day of the course there will be classes in three strands, each for 2 to 2½ hours. The teaching will be discursive. We expect that each class will comprise a one-hour lecture and discussion for 1–1½ hour.



Lecturers: Artemis Alexiadou (Berlin), John Collins (East Anglia) and Terje Lohndal (Trondheim)

Topic: Linguistic representations and the architecture of Minimalism. Issues that may be discussed include: FLN vs. FLB; interfaces; phases; the end of endocentricity; Chomsky’s claim that the FLN is simply recursive merge; distortions due to the demands of the interfaces, particularly linearization and displacement for PF.

Representations in mental systems

Lecturers: John Collins (East Anglia), Frances Egan (Rutgers), Carsten Hansen (Oslo), and Georges Rey (Maryland)

Topic: intentional vs. algebraic readings of cognitive systems including linguistics, vision, and navigation.

Semantics and pragmatics

Lecturers: Nicholas Allott (Oslo), Paul Pietroski (Maryland), and Georges Rey (Maryland)

Topics: How does the representation of word meaning in the linguistic system relate to the representation of thoughts? The notion of I-analyticity. What representations are required to understand an utterance?


Lecturers: Jeff Lidz (Maryland) and Neil Smith (University College London)

Topics to include: representations in the acquisition of phonology and syntax


How to apply

Graduate students are invited to apply to attend the Norwegian Summer Institute on Language and Mind.

The classes at the summer institute are free for all participants! There will also be a free sandwich lunch for all participants on each teaching day.

We also have funding for some travel and accommodation bursaries. All summer institute participants who are current PhD students at institutions affiliated with the Norwegian Graduate Researcher School in Linguistics and Philology will be able to receive bursaries. In addition, we have some bursaries for other students, which will be assigned competitively. The deadline for these is 15th April 2016.

To apply, send us an email. Please include the following information:
your name, highest degree attained, current institution and department, degree course that you are currently on (if any), and your nationality.

If you are also applying for a bursary, please also send us your CV, and a letter of motivation (no more than one page long) briefly stating your reasons for applying to this course, e.g. how it relates to your studies or research interests, and what you hope to get out of it. Please also tell us whether you can get support from your home institution to attend courses like this, and if so, how much.


Credits for doctoral students

We will be giving 5 ECTS credits if the following requirements are fulfilled:

  • Do readings before and during the course as assigned by the instructors
  • Attend 3 out of 4 lecture strands
  • Ask a total of 3 questions in class across the 3 lecture strands

It is possible to increase this to 10 ECTS by submitting an essay.


Supporting institutions

CSMN, University of Oslo; Norwegian Graduate Researcher School in Linguistics and Philology; IFIKK, University of Oslo; University of Maryland

Further information

The course timetable and other information will be posted on the course website


Nicholas Allott, University of OsloCarsten Hansen, University of Oslo, Terje Lohndal, NTNU & UiT The Arctic University of Norway and Georges Rey, University of Maryland

Tags: LinguisticsPhilosophysyntaxphilosophy of languagePhilosophy of mindLanguage AcquisitionPhonologypragmaticsSemantics

Image: Trond Stromme