Norwegian Summer Institute on Language and Mind 2017

We are delighted to announce the Norwegian Summer Institute on Language and Mind, a summer course in linguistics and philosophy in Norway, with lectures from international experts, including some of the most distinguished figures in linguistics and philosophy.

The theme for the institute in 2017 is 'Cognition and Computation’.  Classes are free and we have funding for some travel and accommodation bursaries. Applications are now closed. (The deadline for applications -- for admission and for bursaries -- was 25th April 2017).

More information on the Summer Institute homepage

A summer course in linguistics and philosophy in Norway.
Year two, 2017


Nicholas Allott (University of Oslo)
Janet Dean Fodor (City University of New York)
Steven Gross (Johns Hopkins)
Carsten Hansen (University of Oslo)
Dave Kush (NTNU, Trondheim)
Terje Lohndal (NTNU, Trondheim, & UiT The Arctic University of Norway)
Laurence T. Maloney (New York University)
Maria Olkkonen (Durham University)
Lisa Pearl (UC Irvine)
Colin Phillips (University of Maryland at College Park)
Georges Rey (University of Maryland at College Park)

Description of the summer institute

The primary aim of the institute is to bring graduate students (MA-level and doctoral researchers) 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.

Theme for the institute in 2017: Cognition and Computation

The notion of a “computational/representational” account of the mind is fundamental to work in cognitive science and linguistics. The institute will focus on such an account in three different areas: linguistic variation and its acquisition, perception and mental representation, and computational explanations in general in linguistics and cognitive science. A goal will be to try to make clear just whether the component terms, “computation” and “representation,” mean the same thing in the three areas.

Specific issues will include: How do children learn languages and how can this be modelled in computational terms in such a way that it also accommodates variation between languages? Does computation involve a commitment to actual processes in the brain and to symbols actually representing things; and if so, what “things”? What do findings in psycholinguistics and the psychology of perception tell us about the nature of computation? In what ways are the processes, representations and represented things “psychologically real”?

The teaching

Classes are from Tuesday – Saturday and then Monday – Friday.

The first day will have introductory lectures to get everyone up to speed with the relevant parts of linguistics, philosophy and psychology.

For the rest of the course, days will include two-hour classes on each of the three "strands" (see below). Each class will consist, roughly, of an hour of lecture followed by an hour of discussion.

There will also be some round-table discussion sessions, where we will discuss issues across the strands, guided by student questions.


Linguistic variation and its acquisition

Topics to include: syntactic theory and linguistic variation; acquisition and sentence processing mechanisms, Bayesian approaches to language acquisition, ways to incorporate variation into models of acquisition and processing.

Perception and mental representation

Topics to include: How do we gain knowledge about the world from our sensory systems? Bayesian modeling of perception, vision as computation

Computational explanations in linguistics and cognitive science

Topics to include: grammar and psychological reality, parsing, the alleged resurrection of the theory of derivational complexity, the role of heuristics in mental computation, and foundational questions about representational/computational theories of cognition

Click here to see lecture schedule


The classes at the summer institute are free for all registered participants.
We 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.

How to apply

Applications are now closed. (The deadline for applications was 25th April 2017.)

Special note for UiO MA students

MA students in IFIKK and ILN can still enroll in the summer institute and get course credits for attending and writing an essay. Please email us if you want to know the details.

Organizing committee

Senior lecturer Nicholas Allott, University of Oslo
Professor Carsten Hansen, University of Oslo
Professor Terje Lohndal, NTNU & UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Professor Georges Rey, University of Maryland at College Park

Supporting institutions

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


Nicholas Allott and Terje Lohndal
Tags: linguistics, Philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, psychology, Language Acquisition
Published Mar. 8, 2017 6:39 PM - Last modified June 27, 2018 12:37 PM