The Lyon Institute for Cognitive Science (LICS)
is hosting
The First International Symposium on Linguistics (LICSSOL1)

October 12-15, 1999 Lyon, FRANCE.

The Lyon Institute for Cognitive Science is pleased to announce its first international conference in linguistics to be held at the institute on the following topic:

Economy in Language Design, Computation and Use

 Notions of 'least effort' and 'economy' in a pretheoritical sense have always played a part in explanations concerning language use, evolution and design; they became an important formal construct with the rise of  Generative Grammar in the mid fifties and their role is now again at the center of  much contemporary research in phonology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics.

  This is particularly true of recent work prompted by what is known as the "Minimalist Program" of Generative Grammar. At the core of this research program are two distinct but related notions of ecomony; the first one investigates how parcimonious the Faculty of Language "FL" is in availing the speakers' Internal Language "IL" with devices providing access to other components of the mind/brain: should one countenance more than the structures and features that enter into the Logical Form (meaning) and the Phonetic Form (sound) of utterances? The second one attempts to find out how considerations of economy enter into the way linguistic expres-sions are generated; do computations that are more eco-nomical along well-defined dimensions --e.g. number of steps, "distance", "weight", "structural complexity" etc.-- block less economical ones? Can economy in this latter sense always be construed "locally" or should the theory of FL also allow for a more "global" notion.

 In a related, though clearly distinct sense, post Gricean pragmatics, in particular Sperber's and Wilson's theory of Relevance, devotes a great deal of attention to considerations of economy. It has by now been convincingly shown that the pragmatic interpretation of utterances is under-de-termined by the strictly linguistic information. If so, the question of how and on what (formal) basis speakers and hearers select contextual information is evidently crucial. Relevance theory suggests that the mecanisms that make that selection possible rest on a general economy principle that require that a balance be found between processing costs and interpretive gains.
 Notions of economy also play a role in various areas of formal semantics. Sample issues investigated in this perspective concern the role of economy in favoring certain quantifier scope interpretations, in resolv-ing anaphoric processes in their broadest sense --including focus determination, VP elipsis etc.-- or in limiting the availability of recourse to operations such as type shifting etc.

 As for Phonology and Morphology, one need hardly stress that much contemporary debate centers on the best way to encode considerations of simplicity economy and optimality into a suitable formalism.
 It is the organisers' hope that this symposium will help refine the various notions of economy sketched above and promote fruitful interdisciplinary research on this topic by providing a suitable format for comparison, confrontation and debate. The conference will have 4 sessions; each session will have six one hour presentations (45 minutes talks + 15 minutes discussions); each session will have a number of guest lecturers whose work has played a major part in shaping and/or reintroducing issues of economy in contemporary linguistic research.

Invited speakers:

Nicholas Asher, Gennaro Chierchia, Tanya Reinhart (semantics)
Diane Blakemore, Jacques Moeschler, Deirdre Wilson (pragmatics)
Chris Collins, Luigi Rizzi, Edwin Williams (syntax)
Morris Halle, Alec Marantz, Jean-Roger Vergnaud (phonology/morphology)

 Economy Conference
 c/o Viviane Déprez, Jean-Yves Pollock & Anne Reboul
 Institut des Sciences Cognitives, CNRS UPR 9075
 67 Boulevard Pinel 69675 Bron cedex, France


Institut des Sciences Cognitives  UPR CNRS 9075 67, boulevard Pinel 69675 BRON cedex
33 (0)4 37 91 12 12   33 (0)4 37 91 12 10