Centrum för kognitiv semiotik (CCS)

Humanistiska och teologiska fakulteterna | Lunds universitet


The methodological tools for interrelating language and culture in (pre)history: a case in Amazonia

Gerd Carling and Arthur Holmer


The seminar, which deals with questions discussed both within theme 3 (History of cognition and semiosis) and theme 4 (Typology beyond language) of CCS will look specifically at methodologies for investigating the interrelation between language and culture in prehistory and history, exemplified by using linguistic and cultural data from the region of Amazonia. The problem will be looked at from various angles:

  1. Theoretically: how can a theoretical framework of cognitive semiotics, basically aiming at understanding the communication system of humans, be used on a material of (historical) linguistic and cultural data?
  2. Methodologically: when dealing with collected data (historical or contemporary, linguistic and cultural), in which way should they be organized? What are the advantages vs. disadvantages of using standardized lists and data applications in this type of data?
  3. Technically: What kind of software applications (e.g., GIS-application, BayesTrees) would best suit the data and the theory?  

The seminar will look at these problems in the light of recent theories of language typology and the emergence of implicational tendencies (Dunn et al. 2011), as well as to deal with the problem of the ‘renaissance’ of tree-building.