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1 The Journal of Chinese Linguistics (Preprint)© 2018 by The Journal of Chinese Linguistics. All rights reserved. ISSN 0091-3723/ Report of CIEL 9 REPORT THE 9TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE IN EVOLUTIONARY LINGUISTICS Reported by Peng Gang Feng Lan The 9th International Conference in Evolutionary Linguistics (CIEL-9) (Dijiu Jie Yanhua Yuyanxue Guoji Yantaohui 第九届演化語言學國際研討 會)1 took place in Yunnan Minzu University (Yunnan Minzu Daxue), August 25-27, 2017. The conference was organized by School of Ethnic Cultures of Yunnan Minzu University.2 There were 187 experts and students in total, mainly from 64 universities and institutions in the region of China Mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan; USA, Canada, Australia, Austria, Japan and Korea, attending the three-day conference. The 11 keynote speeches and 77 oral presentations included five major themes (suggested by the author of the report): 1) the development of language, cognition and the brain, 2) language contact and evolution, 3) the origins of Chinese, 4) diachronic and synchronic study of language, and 5) other language evolution related research (such as speech disorder and second language acquisition). Both Peng Gang (author for correspondence) []; AG509, Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Also affiliate to SIAT (see below). Feng Yan Laboratory for Ambient Intelligence and Multimodal Systems, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT), CSA (Zhongguo Kexueyuan Shenzhen Xianjin Jishu Yanjiuyuan); also affiliated to Central China Normal University (Huazhong Shifan Daxue). 1. The 9th International Conference in Evolutionary Linguistics (2017): General Agenda, accessed Dec. 8, 2017. (site discontinued) For publications of past 8 CIELs, see “References” section at the end of this report. 2. Yuncan Minzu Daxue, Minzu Wenhua Xueyuan 雲南民族大學民族文化學院 2 JOURNAL OF CHINESE LINGUISTICS (PREPRINT) The Journal of Chinese Linguistics (Preprint)© 2018 by The Journal of Chinese Linguistics. All rights reserved. ISSN 0091-3723/ Report of CIEL 9 Chinese and English were working languages of this conference. 1. THE DEVELOPMENT OF LANGUAGE, COGNITION AND THE BRAIN William S-Y. Wang (Wang Shiyuan 王士元)of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) as the honorary chairman of the conference, gave a keynote speech on “Language and cognition across the health-span”. The focus was a consideration of the significant association between the development of the brain and the development of child language, as well as the recession of language and cognition in the sunset of life. He started by reviewing the evolution of the human body: compared to chimpanzees, human infants develop much more complex cognitive processes, such as discriminating phonetic contrasts, likely as a result partly of their significantly larger brain volume. It is noteworthy that language acquisition happens when the infant’s brain weight approaches that of adults. In contrast, there is a decline of brain function in the elderly, associated with structural changes such as the shrinkage of hippocampus. It has been hypothesized that older adults might recruit cognitive resources at lower loads to compensate for cognitive decline. It is important to pay more attention to the neuro-degeneration in the elderly and there is an urgent need for us to come up with better diagnoses and treatments for the senior population with neuropsychiatric disorder. Peng Gang 彭剛 also from PolyU presented the keynote speech “Brain plasticity reflected by using linguistic tones.” He pointed out that the brain has amazing ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections between neurons throughout an individual’s life course. It is necessary to note that different languages shape different brains and different brains produce different perceptions. What is more, different perceptions would produce different behaviors and different behaviors then characterize different languages, which form the triangle model discussed by William S-Y. Wang (2009).3 3. William S-Y. Wang’s keynote speech, “Chinese Language, Chinese Brain” presented at the 17th Annual Conference of the International Association of Chinese Linguistics (IACL-17) held on July 2-4, 2009 in Paris, France,, or, accessed on March 15, 2018, abstract is not accessible. REPORT OF 9th CIEL 3 The Journal of Chinese Linguistics (Preprint...


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