Biolinguistics Initiative Barcelona

Biolinguistics Initiative Barcelona: March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Boeckx stepping down as co-editor of Biolinguistics journal

Every good thing comes to an end. I have decided to step down as co-editor of the Biolinguistics journal. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who made it possible for me and my co-editor Kleanthes to take the journal where it is today: the contributors, reviewers, task team members, and, of course, the readers. When I began to think about the possibility of starting a journal, quite a few years ago, I sought the advice of editors and friends, and I want to thank them too. From Norbert Hornstein, I got the idea of trying to make the reviewing process more efficient than what we had experienced with linguistics journals, and to take a more active role in seeking potential contributors, and in deciding what to publish or not. From S.J. Keyser I got the best piece of advice of all: Jay told me to decide right from the start what factor(s) would lead me to stop running the journal I had in mind. Jay went on to tell me that he had told himself that he'd stop running Linguistic Inquiry as soon as it got in the red. Since by then I was already leaning towards a free-for-all, and Open Access model, Jay's criterion did not strike me as the one I'd adopt. Rather, I told myself that I'd stop editing the journal when it would stop being among my top recommendations for my students to submit their works to. Back then, around 2006, biolinguistics was undergoing the beginning of a revival among linguists, and there was certainly a need for a forum where linguists would be given the possibility of building bridges with other disciplines. These attempts, modest as they are, truly deserve an official recognition, in the form of an official publication venue, for them to flourish. I feel that the Biolinguistics journal has certainly contributed to the progress we have witnessed over the past seven years. In the meantime, more publication venues have emerged, and/or opened themselves to work on the biological foundations of language, and linguists have begun to contribute to them. Moreover, open access repositories like bioRxiv now offer the possibility to make one's work rapidly available to the entire community at no cost. All of this is real progress for the field, and I think now is a good time to reflect on where to go next for the Biolinguistics journal. Doing so requires the injection on new ideas, a rethinking of the editorial board, and perhaps of the publication model as a whole, and I think that too long a tenure as editor can get in the way, hence my stepping down.

Let me close by thanking my co-editor Kleanthes K. Grohmann for all the work and energy he put into this project. I'm quite sure it's been a challenging task to work with me and accept some of the suggestions I made over the years. To all of you who have read until this line, remember to contribute to this extraordinary and exiting field in any way you can, and to promote biolinguistics in the strongest sense of the term.
---Cedric Boeckx, Barcelona, March 31, 2014.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Recently in the headlines

Monday, March 17, 2014

Boeckx & Benitez-Burraco in Biological Theory

Boeckx & Benitez-Burraco's piece on Comparative Biolinguistics is just out in Biological Theory:

Universal Grammar and Biological Variation: An EvoDevo Agenda for Comparative Biolinguistics

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Boeckx & Benitez-Burraco presentation

Cedric Boeckx and Antonio Benitez-Burraco will be presenting "Linking Bones and Genomes to Understand the Language-Ready Brain" at the Cell Symposium on Human Evolution, March 16–18.
Click here for more information.

Language, Asymmetry, Psychosis Workshop (March 19)

Mark your calendar: we are pleased to announce the workshop "Language, Asymmetry, Psychosis", which will take place on March 19, from 3 to 6pm, at the University of Barcelona.

There will be talks by Xiang Li, Tim Crow, Cedric Boeckx, Wolfram Hinzen, Neil Robers.

The exact location will the Sala Gabriel Oliver, on the basement of the Josep Carner building, at the intersection of Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes and Aribau.

Spread the word!

Recommended: CCiL Annual Lecture (Elliott Sober)

On March 21st (12h30), at the Faculty of Philosophy, Professor Elliott Smith (University of Wisconsin, Madison) will be delivering the CCiL 2014 Annual Lecture, titled "Parsimony and Chimpanzee Mind-Reading." More information here.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Boeckx in Lingua

Just out in Lingua: "Neo-Saussurian biolinguistics?"
(a review of D. Bouchard's new OUP book on the nature of language), by Cedric Boeckx. You can read it here: Lingua 143C (2014), pp. 103-107.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Martins in Biolinguistics

A review of Birdsong, Speech, and Language: Exploring the Evolution of Mind and Brain (Ed. by J. J. Bolhuis & M. Everaert) by Pedro Tiago Martins has just been published in the Biolinguistics journal. Check it out: The Bird Is the Word.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Mark your calendar: Marc Hauser visit in the Spring

We are delighted to announce that Marc Hauser will be visiting BiB early March. He will be giving two talks:

March 13 (5-7pm, Aula Magna, Historic Building, 1st floor):
  • Where Darwin went really wrong: An unbridgeable gap in cognitive evolution
March 14 (10-12am, Sala de Professors, Edifici Josep Carner, 5th floor):
  • Evilicious: how we evolved and developed the capacity for gratuitous cruelty

Announcement Poster

Entrance is free, as usual. Spread the word!

Boeckx publication in Teorema

Cedric Boeckx's paper "The Roots of Current Biolinguistic Thought: Revisiting the "Chomsky-Piaget" Debate in the Context of the Revival of Biolinguistics" just appeared in the latest issue of Teorema. Check it out here.