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Seminar: Warp and weft: What evolutionary biologists can learn from linguists, Lindell Bromham - CANCELLED

Evolution, University of Queensland

Date: 4 March 2020


Seminar: Warp and weft: What evolutionary biologists can learn from linguists

Speaker: Lindell Bromham


The past decade has seen a flowering of collaboration between evolutionary biologists and linguists. Useful analytical tools from evolutionary biology have been applied to many long standing problems in language evolution. Less emphasis has been placed on what evolutionary biology gains from a closer consideration of how languages change. Considering alternative evolutionary systems helps biologists put the evolution of DNA-based organisms in perspective, and can challenge some fundamental beliefs about evolutionary processes. In particular, considering the complexity of language evolution can help illuminate how different modes of generation and acquisition of variation – whether vertically (inherited from family), horizontally (influenced by peers) or environmentally (shaped by context) – combine to create complex patterns of variation and change. Biologists share more in common with linguists than they might first suppose. 

Lindell Bromham is an evolutionary biologist, whose work spans from molecular evolution to macroevolution, connecting generation of variation at genome level to the generation of biodiversity, as well as interdisciplinary applications of evolutionary analysis.

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University