The Norwegian Summer Institute on Language and Mind 2018

Details coming later in 2017. Watch this space.

See below for details of the summer institute which took place in August 2017.

Thank you to all participants

Dear friends and colleagues,
We’d like to thank you all very much again for having taken time in your busy schedules to come to Oslo and for making the summer institute such a success. We very much appreciate the thought and effort that you put in and the wonderful collaborative atmosphere that you helped us to develop.

The Norwegian Summer Institute on Language and Mind

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A summer course in linguistics and philosophy in Norway.
Year two, 2017

Tuesday 1st August (9 am) – Friday 11th August (1 pm), 2017
University of Oslo, Blindern campus; Seminar room 1 (‘Undervisningsrom 1’), Sophus Bugges building


Nicholas Allott (University of Oslo)
Janet Dean Fodor (City University of New York)
Steven Gross (Johns Hopkins)
Carsten Hansen (University of Oslo)
Dave Kush (NTNU, Trondheim)
Terje Lohndal (NTNU, Trondheim, & UiT The Arctic University of Norway)
Laurence T. Maloney (New York University)
Maria Olkkonen (Durham University)
Lisa Pearl (UC Irvine)
Colin Phillips (University of Maryland at College Park)
Georges Rey (University of Maryland at College Park)

Description of the summer institute

The primary aim of the institute is to bring graduate students (MA-level and doctoral researchers) up to date with developments in the intersection of work on language and mind by presenting classes with leading researchers in the relevant fields. These include linguists open to philosophical issues, and philosophers focused on linguistics and the cognitive sciences.

Theme for the institute in 2017: Cognition and Computation

The notion of a “computational/representational” account of the mind is fundamental to work in cognitive science and linguistics. The institute will focus on such an account in three different areas: linguistic variation and its acquisition, perception and mental representation, and computational explanations in general in linguistics and cognitive science. A goal will be to try to make clear just whether the component terms, “computation” and “representation,” mean the same thing in the three areas.

Specific issues will include: How do children learn languages and how can this be modelled in computational terms in such a way that it also accommodates variation between languages? Does computation involve a commitment to actual processes in the brain and to symbols actually representing things; and if so, what “things”? What do findings in psycholinguistics and the psychology of perception tell us about the nature of computation? In what ways are the processes, representations and represented things “psychologically real”?

The teaching

Classes are from Tuesday – Saturday and then Monday – Friday.

The first day will have introductory lectures to get everyone up to speed with the relevant parts of linguistics, philosophy and psychology.

For the rest of the course, days will include 90 minute classes on each of the three "strands" (see below). Teaching will be discursive, with plenty of time for questions and answers in each class.

There will also be two round-table discussion sessions, where we will discuss issues across the strands, guided by student questions.


Linguistic variation and its acquisition

Topics to include: syntactic theory and linguistic variation; acquisition and sentence processing mechanisms, Bayesian approaches to language acquisition, ways to incorporate variation into models of acquisition and processing.

Perception and mental representation

Topics to include: How do we gain knowledge about the world from our sensory systems? Bayesian modeling of perception, vision as computation

Computational explanations in linguistics and cognitive science

Topics to include: grammar and psychological reality, parsing, the alleged resurrection of the theory of derivational complexity, the role of heuristics in mental computation, and foundational questions about representational/computational theories of cognition


The classes at the summer institute are free for all registered participants.
We have funding for some travel and accommodation bursaries. All summer institute participants who are current PhD students at institutions affiliated with the Norwegian Graduate Researcher School in Linguistics and Philology will be able to receive bursaries.
In addition, we have some bursaries for other students, which will be assigned competitively.

How to apply

Applications are closed. (The deadline for applications was 25th April 2017.)


Senior lecturer Nicholas Allott, University of Oslo
Professor Carsten Hansen, University of Oslo
Professor Terje Lohndal, NTNU & UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Professor Georges Rey, University of Maryland at College Park

Supporting institutions

CSMN, University of Oslo; Norwegian Graduate Researcher School in Linguistics and Philology; IFIKK, University of Oslo; University of Maryland at College Park