External events where members of Super Linguistics participate, give talks, are co-hosts, or organisers.



Time and place: Feb. 23, 2022–Feb. 25, 2022, Online

The 2022  Annual Conference of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS) will feature a workshop on multi-modal communication titled Visual Communication (ViCom): Theoretical and Empirical Developments. UiO super linguists Naomi Francis, Patrick Georg Grosz, and Pritty Patel-Grosz will be giving a talk about Analyzing the "throwing away" gesture as a common ground management device; Patrick will also be presenting joint work with Elsi Kaiser (University of Southern California), and Francesco Pierini (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales) on Beat-related face emoji in multimodal written communication. 


15th International Symposium of Cognition, Logic and Communication

Time and place: Nov. 26, 2021–Nov. 27, 2021, Riga, Latvia (and online)

The 15th International Symposium of Cognition, Logic and Communication was all about the syntax and semantics of music and dance. The event was hosted by the University of Latvia in collaboration with the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, and our very own Pritty Patel-Grosz was one of the keynote speakers.


Time and place: Nov. 5, 2021–Nov. 7, 2021, Shanghai, China (and online)

Pritty Patel-Grosz (UiO) and Philippe Schlenker (CNRS/NYU) gave a tutorial on Super Linguistics at the 9th International Conference on Formal Linguistics, hosted by Fudan University in Shanghai. 

Expression, Language and Music (ELM)

Time and place: May 12, 2021 10:00 AM–May 14, 2021 6:00 PM, University of Connecticut

Expression, Language, and Music (ELM) is to be a biennial conference that brings together researchers from linguistics, music theory, anthropology, neurobiology, cognitive science, philosophy, and more, with the aim of integrating recent findings and insights from diverse perspectives concerning, e.g. the significance of emotional expression for both music and language, the importance of systematic structure in both music and language, and the interrelations between expressive, musical, and communicative capacities and their relevance for understanding the emergence of language (in ontogeny and phylogeny). Future conferences may focus more narrowly on a subset of these topics.

See website for call for papers and posters.


Dorit Bar-On, Gerry Altmann, Whit Tabor and Harry van der Hulst


Abralin ao Vivo lecture on dance semantics

Time: Nov. 7, 2020 3:00 PM

Pritty Patel-Grosz will give an Abralin ao Vivo lecture ( on the semantics of dance on November 7th at 15:00 (CET). 


Dance semantics and extensions to music


Recent years have witnessed the application of formal linguistic methodology to objects of study that transcend language, such as music and visual representation. At the intersection of the abstract properties of music and the medium of visual representation, we find dance, a type of potentially meaningful body movement, which avails different tools to a dancer intending to communicate meaning. Novel findings from exploratory motion capture studies on Bharatanatyam dance (South Indian classical dance) reveal how movements and positions in space can be utilized to convey meaning. One of our conclusions is that dance may incorporate expressions that we find in language (such as reference tracking through designated positions in space), in addition to more abstract meanings.

Sinn und Bedeutung 25

Time and place: Sep. 2, 2020 10:00 AM–6:00 PM, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)

Workshop: Gestures and Natural Language Semantics

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and University College London (UCL) are pleased to announce the workshop Gestures and Natural Language Semantics: Investigations at the Interface, to be held as a special session of Sinn und Bedeutung 25.

This workshop aims to bring together researchers who work on gestures (see McNeill 1992, Kendon 2004, Lascarides & Stone 2009, Ebert & Ebert 2014, Schlenker 2018, Esipova 2019), and researchers who work on traditional areas of linguistic research, in order to investigate where gesturally and grammatically expressed meaning intertwine.

Invited speakers:

  • Susan Goldin-Meadow (University of Chicago)
  • Emar Maier (University of Groningen)

19th NY-St. Petersburg Institute of Linguistics, Cognition and Culture

Time: July 20, 2020–July 31, 2020

There were two super linguistics events at the first virtual NY-St. Petersburg Institute of Linguistics, Cognition and Culture.

  • A mini-course entitled Topics in Super Linguistics  taught by John Bailyn (Stony Brook University) and Pritty Patel-Grosz (University of Oslo).
  • A general lecture entitled "Probing emoji meanings" given by Patrick Grosz (University of Oslo) on July 29.
  • A lecture on sign-gesture connections taught by Masha Esipova within a mini-course entitled Topics in Sign Language Studies (workshop dedicated to Tatiana Davidenko).


John Bailyn

The 4th Crete Summer School of Linguistics

Time and place: July 18, 2020 10:00 AM–July 31, 2020 6:00 PM, University of Crete

There will be three Super Linguistics courses at the 4th Crete Summer School of Linguistics:

  • A week long course entitled 'Introduction to Super Linguistics' taught by Philippe Schlenker (Institut Jean-Nicod, CNRS; New York University) and Pritty Patel-Grosz (Oslo)
  • A week long course entitled 'Musical structure and interpretation: A linguistic approach' taught by Jonah Katz (West Virgina University) and Philippe Schlenker (Institut Jean-Nicod, CNRS; New York University)
  • A week long course entitled 'Evolution and Language' taught by Shigeru Miyagawa & Ian Tattersall

In addition, there will be a workshop entitled 'Speech-Accompanying Gestures – Current Empirical and Theoretical Advances' organised by Patrick Georg Grosz and Sarah Zobel. 


Vina Tsakali and Sabine Iatridou

Musical Meaning workshop

Time and place: May 12, 2020 10:00 AM–May 14, 2020 6:00 PM, NYU

While the formal study of musical syntax has a relatively old pedigree, musical meaning has not yet given rise to the same developments. This workshop will feature recent work on music semantics and its interfaces (e.g.  language, cognition, musical syntax, dance), with the goal of fostering new interactions and collaborations among relevant researchers. This will be very informal, 'work in progress' kind of discussion.


  • Lisa Margulis (Department of Music, Princeton)
  • Léo Migotti (Institut Jean-Nicod, ENS, Paris)
  • Pritty Patel-Grosz (Department of Linguistics, University of Oslo)
  • Claire Pelofi (Department of Psychology, NYU)
  • Philippe Schlenker (Institut Jean-Nicod, CNRS; NYU)

and also with the presence of Jonah Katz (Department of Linguistics, West Virginia University).


Leo Migotti, Claire Pelofi and Philippe Schlenker.

The Animal Linguistics Teaching Exchange (TEAL)

Time and place: Mar. 23, 2020 10:00 AM–Mar. 27, 2020 6:00 PM, École Normale Supérieure (ENS)

Our primary purpose is to create a space (through mutual teaching) that fosters an exchange of core knowledge between researchers in linguistics, animal behaviour and adjacent fields; the aim is to do so through theoretical courses, case studies and hands-on training. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about ethological methods in the collection and processing of animal behaviour data, core linguistic concepts and formal analysis, and comparative and evolutionary approaches.

The Animal Linguistics Teaching Exchange will focus on several taxa (primates and birds) and different communicative systems (vocal, gestural and postural). 

Call for posters

An overarching aim of the Animal Linguistics Teaching Exchange will be to strengthen bonds across disciplines within the research community and facilitate the emergence of future collaborations. To this end, we also invite participants to contribute to the school by way of a poster session with an open call for posters. Title, authors' name and affiliation and a 200-word abstract should be submitted by December 15, 2019, to


Mélissa Berthet , Guillaume Dezecache, Lucie Ravaux, Pritty Patel-Grosz and Philippe Schlenker


The Amsterdam Colloquium

Time and place: Dec. 20, 2019 10:00 AM–6:00 PM, University of Amsterdam

Recent years have witnessed the emergence of what may be called “super linguistics”, understood as the application of methods of (or inspired from) formal linguistics to diverse nonstandard objects  (e.g. gestures, non-verbal pictorial representations, music, animal calls). Some extensions of this sort are called for by language-internal considerations; for instance, the rich iconic components found in both sign language and gestures make it necessary to develop an explicit semantics for pictorial representations. Other extensions are motivated by the existence of linguistic properties in apparently non-linguistic objects; thus it has been argued that narrative pictorial sequences come with a notion of discourse referent, and that visual animations embedded in sentences can trigger presuppositions. Still, other extensions are insightful in that they highlight the differences between human language and other representational or communicative systems (e.g., dance, animal gestures). Quite generally, by studying non-standard objects, it becomes possible for us to acquire new insights into what human language is and how it differs from other language-like systems. We thus achieve a much broader typology of syntactic and semantic systems in nature (and their relation to human language) than could be offered by standard formal linguistics. 

Invited speakers

  • Cornelia Ebert (Frankfurt)
  • Gabriel Greenberg (UCLA)

We invite contributions pertaining to this new but already diverse movement. To be considered, submissions should propose a clear formal analysis based on rich and detailed data pertaining to a non-standard object (such as those mentioned above).


Philippe Schlenker and Pritty Patel-Grosz

The DGFS XPrag Summer School

Time and place: Aug. 5, 2019 10:00 AM–July 16, 2019 6:00 PM, Berlin, Germany

The DGfS Summer School will take place from August 5th - 16th 2019, and will focus on Experimental Pragmatics: Theory, Methods, Interfaces

There will be two Super Linguistics courses taking place at the school:

  • A course of Presupposition (which will include work on gestures) by Philippe Schlenker (Institut Jean-Nicod, CNRS; New York University)
  • A course on Gestures by Cornelia Ebert (Frankfurt)

The Yerevan Academy of Linguistics & Philosophy (YALP)

Time and place: July 22, 2019 8:30 AM–Aug. 2, 2019 6:00 PM, Yerevan, Armenia

Applications for the Yerevan Academy of Linguistics and Philosophy (YALP) is now open! The school will take place on July 22nd - August 2nd. There will be several Super Linguistics courses at the school:

  • Mitch Green (UConn) - Animal Communication
  • Daniel Altshuler (Hampshire College) - Philosophy of Language/Fiction
  • Pritty Patel-Grosz (Oslo) & Philippe Schlenker: (Institut Jean-Nicod, CNRS; New York University)


Daniel Altshuler, Ned Markosian, Arshak Balayan and Susanna Melkonian-Altshuler

The 18th NY-St. Petersburg Institute of Linguistics, Cognition and Culture

Time and place: July 15, 2019 10:00 AM–Aug. 2, 2019 6:00 PM, St. Petersberg

There will be two Super Linguistics courses on music semantics at the NY-St. Petersberg institute on Linguistics, Cognition and Culture, taught by John Halle and Martin Rohrmeier.


John Bailyn

The 3rd Crete Summer School of Linguistics

Time and place: July 13, 2019 10:00 AM–July 26, 2019 6:00 PM, University of Crete

There will be two Super Linguistics events at the 3rd Crete Summer School of Linguistics:

  • A week long course entitled 'Introduction to Super Linguistics' taught by Philippe Schlenker (Institut Jean-Nicod, CNRS; New York University) and Pritty Patel-Grosz (Oslo)
  • A workshop on 'Human language in evolution: some key perspectives' organised by Shigeru Miyagawa (MIT)


Vina Tsakali and Sabine Iatridou

Animal Linguistics: take the leap!

Time and place: June 17, 2019 10:00 AM–6:00 PM, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris

The study of non-human communication took off in the 1980’s following the foundational work of Seyfarth and Cheney. Since then, by comparing human language to non-human systems, biologists have explored what makes human language unique, when human language evolved from animal communicative systems, and whether the origin of language is gestural or vocal.

However, after 40 years of intense research on many taxa, the communication capacities of non- human animals remain little understood, and so does the origin of human language. One of the main obstacles appears to be a lack of consensus on analytic methods. To address this issue, a field of animal linguistics is emerging, with the aim of studying animal communicative systems as formal systems, using general methods borrowed from linguistics.

This workshop aims to bring together leading linguists and biologists, all pioneers in the field of animal linguistics, in order to provide insights on how to combine linguistic and biological approaches to the study of animal communication. We will cover several fields of linguistics, from formal to quantitative approaches, and to apply their methods to a diversity of taxa, such as birds and primates. In addition, the workshop will consider both gestural and vocal communication.

Invited Speakers:

  • Stuart Semple (University of Roehampton)
  • Marion Laporte (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle)
  • Sabrina Engesser (University of Zurich)
  • Kirsty Graham (University of York) 
  • Thomas Scott-Phillips (Central European University)


Mélissa Berthet and Guillaume Dezecache

GLOW: Shared Modules for Rhythm, Narration and Emotion across Domains

Time and place: May 11, 2019 9:45 AM–6:00 PM, ITMO, Harald Schjelderups hus

In recent years, linguistic methods that were developed in the generative framework have been systematically applied to non-linguistic phenomena. We find generative approaches to the syntax and semantics of music (e.g. Koelsch 2012, Katz 2017, Schlenker 2017), the syntax and semantics of dance (e.g. Charnavel 2016, Patel-Grosz et al. 2018), the semantics of visual narrative (Abusch 2013), and the connection between speech and drumming rhythms (Winter 2014). Crucially, recent explorations that expand linguistic methodology beyond natural language in such a way aim to shed light on the shared properties of different cognitive domains (language, music, dance, silent narratives) that are fundamentally human. This yields new insights into human cognition as a whole, and thus also into the core properties of the human language faculty.

Such groundbreaking new research clearly raises questions at a multitude of levels, including:

[i.] What are the rhythmic properties that human language shares with other modalities (e.g., rhythmic-melodic structure, which can be found both in music/beats and in the prosody of natural languages)? See Ravignani, Honing and Kotz (2017) for a recent editorial on the topic. The role of rhythmic properties also connects directly to issues such as information structure (i.e. can we find notions such as topic or focus outside of human language?) and how it is encoded.

[ii.] How are narrators (particularly in fictional discourse) integrated into the semantics and pragmatics of narratives across the different modalities? This is a topic that has recently gained momentum in the linguistic literature on issues such as truth in fiction (e.g., Altshuler & Maier 2018), but it carries over to an equal extent into modalities such as visual narrative and music.

[iii.] To what extent can it be maintained that language and music share a common cognitive grounding in the form of an identical or analogous generative mechanism of structure building? Such a view has recently been reasserted by Pesetsky & Katz (2009) (and see Patel 2008), but the exact nature of the parallels (and also the exact range of differences) remains to be established.

[iv.] How do investigations at the cognition-emotion interface carry over from one modality to another? This topic has recently taken center stage in linguistic explorations on expressivity, sentiments and emotivity (see, for instance, Potts 2007), but it naturally carries over to other modalities, such as music, as shown in Schlenker (2017). Research that investigates emotional effects often targets areas where language and music overlap, e.g., by studying the emotional effects associated with metrical pattern in poetry (e.g., Obermeier et al. 2013), or a typology of affective/emotional sounds that spans both language (including, in particular, prosody and intonation) and music (e.g., Frühholz, Trost, and Kotz 2016).


Pritty Patel-Grosz and Alexander Refsum Jensenius

Berlin: A workshop on gestures, body movement and primate linguistics

Time and place: Mar. 11, 2019–Mar. 12, 2019, ZAS, Berlin

Date: March 11-12 2019

Location: ZAS, Berlin


Cornelia Ebert, Jeremy Kuhn and Uli Sauerland

Published May 3, 2022 1:21 PM - Last modified May 25, 2022 9:12 AM