Post-conference update

A number of people have sent us their slides, which have been added to the program (just look for the 'Slides' links).
For those who speak Estonian - two of the organizers were featured in a segment of the radio talkshow Labor ('The Lab') on Vikerraadio, where we gave an overview of the conference and tried to convince people that linguistics is still sort of relevant, perhaps even more than ever before.

Below is a little gallery with photos, mainly from the reception.

Submit your question for the round table!

Feel free to suggest your question(s) or topic(s) that you would like to see discussed at the round table on Saturday, via this form. There is also an envelope at the registration table where questions may be deposited.

Final program available

The final version of the full program is now available.

Abstract review finished, program available

The Scientific Committee has finished evaluating the abstracts submitted to the conference. All authors should have received a notification of the acceptance or rejection of their paper, along with the reviewers' comments - if you haven't for some reason, please contact us.

The first draft of the full program is now available. The registration (click here) has opened as well. The conference has no participation fee, and everybody is welcome to attend the talks. We would like to ask presenting participants to register and submit their revised abstracts (see guidelines under Registration) before the 5th of April. If you are a presenting author and have not received the e-mail about registration and abstract revision, please contact us. Registration is optional for the audience, but we would ask you to register as well for organization purposes. Pecha Kucha presenters have until the 12th of April to submit their abstracts (which they may still revise, upon request, until the 24th of April).

Abstract submission finished; Language Science Pecha Kucha announced

The abstract submission period for the conference has ended. The results of the abstract evaluation, along with feedback from the scientific committee, will be communicated to the authors during the first week of March.

Incidentally, we are pleased to announce an event in addition to The Why Linguistics Conference: a Language Science Pecha Kucha workshop. This parallel workshop serves as a counterpoint to the emphasized reflexive nature - why linguistics? - of the main conference. The gist of the event is, namely, to present your personal research topic in a short, simple, concentrated from, while keeping it accessible to the interdisciplinary audience of the conference, thus enabling feedback from different angles and fields, both academic and industrial. As such, there are no restrictions on the topic, as long as it is related to research on (or applications of) human language. As with the main conference, we naturally welcome linguists, but also researchers from other fields like language psychology, communication studies, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, etc. We also very much encourage young researchers about to complete a degree to participate in the workshop (for example: why not get feedback on your soon to be defended master's thesis?). 

Click here for details >>>

Abstract Submission Deadline Extended

Update: due to numerous requests, the submission deadline has been extended to the 22nd of February. Recognizing that this is perhaps a somewhat unusual theme for a linguistics conference, we composed a FAQ [last update: Feb 21] addressing potential topics and approaches to the questions posed in the call for papers. We would also like to emphasize that the conference is not exclusive to linguists - researchers and industry representatives from any field working on human language are welcome to share their ideas.

Call for Papers

After decades of seemingly scattered research, the question of how linguistics fits into the bigger picture of the sciences and the world of knowledge in general has surfaced in connection with new methods and technological advances which deal with natural language and communication, attempt to simulate them, or use linguistic knowledge to interpret human behavior. 
This conference proposes a constructive take on the question "Why?", as in, why are we doing what we are doing as linguists, and what is our contribution to knowledge? Or, equally well, what is the contribution of a particular domain of linguistics to other disciplines, and in turn, their contribution to linguistics? To what end do linguistics and any such neighboring fields of research or industry converge in their methods, results and problem setting? This is intended to be the binding theme of this otherwise highly interdisciplinary event. 
In order to approach these issues from a variety of angles, we invite papers on the subject of linguistics in and for:  
- technology and engineering
- neuroscience, psychology, clinical applications
- endangered communities
- understanding human origins
- didactics and acquisition

- digital humanities
- translation and terminology
- solving crimes
- understanding cognition, thinking and reasoning

- understanding society
- understanding human language and communication

Taking into account the interdisciplinary nature of the conference, participants are advised to give a brief overview in their presentation of the "what" and "how" of their research, but nevertheless focus on the "why". For researchers working in the applied and technical domains, the answer may be clear due to the inherently more action- or product-oriented nature of their research. However, we believe that open discussion on this topic is beneficial for the realization of the full potential of theoretical linguistic research and for the interaction of linguistics with other disciplines. 

Participants from the more applied fields of research should, therefore, put emphasis on the contribution of theoretical domains of linguistics from the point of view of their research, and conversely, representatives of the theoretical fields should point to the applicability of their research. Both positive and negative assessments are equally welcome, as in why we should or should not invest resources in any particular subdomain of linguistics, its methodology, or its application in another field of research or industry.
The working language of the conference is English. 

Important dates
February 22 - abstract submission deadline
Early March - notification of acceptance
May 7-9 - conference

Invited Speakers:
Dylan Glynn (University of Paris 8)
Andrei Popescu-Belis (Idiap Research Institute; Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL))
Mónica Tamariz (University of Edinburgh)

Scientific Committee:
Talis Bachmann (University of Tartu)  
Jack Chambers (University of Toronto)  
Jan Engberg (Aarhus University)   
Dirk Geeraerts (KU Leuven)   
Dylan Glynn (University of Paris 8) 
Heiki-Jaan Kaalep (University of Tartu)  
Päivi Kristiina Jokinen (University of Helsinki; University of Tartu)
Elizabeth Lanza (University of Oslo)  
Kadri Muischnek (University of Tartu)  
Jurgis Pakerys (Vilnius University)
Andrei Popescu-Belis (Idiap Research Institute; EPFL)

Silvi Salupere (University of Tartu)
Arvi Tavast (University of Tübingen; University of Tartu)
Tiia Tulviste (University of Tartu)  
Graham Wilcock (University of Helsinki)