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Research Seminar Series - New ideas on language comprehension and communication

Event information

START DATE 27 February 2019

Middlesex University Dubai, Oasis Theatre

END DATE 27 February 2019

We are pleased to invite you to our Wednesday Research Seminar. It will be held on February 27th from 4pm, at Middlesex University Dubai in the Oasis Theatre, Block 16, Knowledge Park.

Wednesday Research Seminar Series was launched in 2008, and has featured more than 245 presentations to date. The seminars provide a forum for researchers to share their work. Presenters include faculty from Middlesex University Dubai and other universities in the United Arab Emirates, as well as researchers from other global institutions. Dr. Charlotte Conrad will deliver seminar on:

“New ideas on language comprehension and communication”

 Charlotte Conrad


Traditional linguistic ideas about signs, meaning, language and communication are increasingly being discredited amongst scholars in the language and communication sciences, who find them reductive and unable to capture what goes on in actual communication situations.

At the same time we see a trend in the cognitive sciences and psychology to move away from an understanding of the human mind as an anonymous, mechanical operator - a describable software which runs the same on any brain - towards seeing the mind as a faculty that serves an embodied, situated, culturally and socially embedded, living being. To enactivist cognitive science this means seeing the individual, locally situated psyche as an indispensable determinant to the realization of world and meaning. Such a claim carries direct implications to our understanding of human semiotic activity.

On the background of highlighting the current trends in psychology and linguistics I will present my own work on the psychology of language comprehension. Based on ideas from modern thinkers within psychology, linguistics and phenomenology (notably William James, James Gibson, Roy Harris and Martin Heidegger), I suggest that language understanding is better portrayed as a complex use of our everyday perceptual ability to figure the world as interactable to ourselves as agents. I show that this suggestion yields a simpler, more encompassing account of language comprehension than traditional machine functionalist cognitive science does, while solving anomalies that stem from the latter.

I will conclude my presentation by talking about the theoretical consequences that the ideas presented have to our understanding of what communication is. I hope this will allow us to have a discussion of the implications a new understanding of communication might have in your different fields.


Charlotte Conrad received her MA in Rhetorics and in Studies of Nordic Languages and Literature from Copenhagen University in 2004. She earned her Ph.D. in the Psychology of Text Comprehension from Copenhagen University in 2011. As part of an often relocating expat family she has been living as an expatriate in 5 different states in the USA and has been a visiting scholar at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, HI and Indiana University, Bloomington, IN during that time. She is currently living in Dubai, UAE and is a board member of the International Association for the Integrational Study of Language and Communication (IAISLC) which promotes the study of language and communication without first presupposing language as a publicly shared, fixed code.

We look forward to welcoming you at the seminar.

If you are interested in presenting at one of our future seminars, or would like to recommend someone, please contact:

Middlesex Associates FZ LLC, Dubai Knowledge Park - Blocks 4, 16, 17 & 19
Admissions +971 (0)4 3678100

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