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Chomsky, Noam.
The Delphic Oracle: Her Message for Today

Video em Portugûes

Talk in English by the famous Noam Chomsky about the Delphic Oracle and what her messages can mean to us today (e.g. in times of the pandemic and climate change).
Fedorenko, Evelina.
The Language System In The Human Mind And Brain
Talk in English by Evelina Fedorenko dealing with how the language system works in the human mind and brain.
McWhorter, John H.
What Adults do to Language and How They Create New Ones
Since the Neolithic Revolution 10,000 years ago, certain languages have come to be learned more by adults than children. This kind of acquisition significantly decreases grammatical complexity, and the result is languages much less grammatically complex than most others. This means that the natural state of language is of the grammatical complexity of Slavic languages or many Native American ones, while languages like English and Indonesian are a relatively new type. Then, under other circumstances, adult acquisition simplifies a language to the extent of pidginization, after which this pidgin is transformed into a new language called a creole.
Newmeyer, Frederick. Can One Language Be ‘More Complex’ Than Another? It has long been an article of faith among linguists (though not among the general public) that all languages are equally complex. Three beliefs have led to this conclusion. First, the idea that languages might differ in complexity seems to go against enlightened humanistic thought: Asserting that one language is ‘simple’ and another ‘complex’ seems to open the door to the disturbing idea that some human societies are ‘more advanced’ or ‘more primitive’ than others. Second, there is at least some evidence that simplicity in one part of a language is balanced out by complexity in another part, leaving overall complexity the same from language to language. And third, one can interpret the theory of Universal Grammar as requiring that all languages be equal in complexity. I argue in this talk that none of the three arguments, when examined carefully, holds water.
Wedel, Andy.
The Role of Communication Efficiency In Shaping Language
Over the last century, we've gained a great deal of evidence that language structures evolve in ways that optimize communication efficiency. In the lexicon for example, Zipf (1939) famously showed that words which are more predictable tend to be shorter, and vice versa. This relationship reduces overall speaker effort while preserving communication accuracy. In the first part of this talk, I will review some of the most interesting recent findings that illustrate the apparent influence of communication efficiency on lexicons and grammars.

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