|How Language Furnishes the Mind|
The 60th annual Katharine Asher Engel lecture, “How Language Furnishes the Mind,” will be presented by Jill de Villiers, Sophia & Austin Smith Professor of Psychology & Philosophy. Professor de Villiers’ talk has three main arguments based on her research. First, young children’s grammars reveal extraordinary sophistication that does not emerge from statistical properties of the input, but rather from the nature of the human mind. The mind is already furnished. Second, the design of language assessments must be attentive to the sophistication of children’s knowledge. Third, and more controversially, she proposes that the growth of language itself structures uniquely human thought, rather than merely serving as a conduit for concepts. More about the speaker.
The Katharine Asher Engel Lectureship at Smith College was established in 1958 by the National Council of Jewish Women to honor the memory of Mrs. Engel, its onetime president, a graduate of Smith College, 1920. Mrs. Engel's life was one of generous participation in educational, civic, religious and welfare activities. In endowing the lectureship, the council hoped to "create a bond between a remarkable woman, her college, and the organization to which she was devoted." Under the terms of the grant, the holder of the annual lectureship must be a member of the Smith College faculty who has made an outstanding contribution to knowledge in his or her field.
Free and open to the public.