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  1. Dan Dediu & Stephen C. Levinson (2013). On the Antiquity of Language: The Reinterpretation of Neandertal Linguistic Capacities and its Consequences. Frontiers in Psychology 4.
    It is usually assumed that modern language is a recent phenomenon, coinciding with the emergence of modern humans themselves. Many assume as well that this is the result of a single, sudden mutation giving rise to the full “modern package”. However, we argue here that recognizably modern language is likely an ancient feature of our genus pre-dating at least the common ancestor of modern humans and Neandertals about half a million years ago. To this end, we adduce a broad range (...)
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  2. Stephen C. Levinson & Asifa Majid (2013). The Island of Time: Yélî Dnye, the Language of Rossel Island. Frontiers in Psychology 4.
    This paper describes the linguistic description of time, the accompanying gestural system and the “mental time lines” found in the speakers of Yélî Dnye, an isolate language spoken offshore from Papua New Guinea. Like many indigenous languages, Yélî Dnye has no fixed anchoring of time and thus no calendrical time. Instead, time in Yélî Dnye linguistic description is primarily anchored to the time of speaking, with six diurnal tenses and special nominals for n days from coding time; this is supplemented (...)
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  3. Stephen C. Levinson (2012). The Original Sin of Cognitive Science. Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (3):396-403.
    Classical cognitive science was launched on the premise that the architecture of human cognition is uniform and universal across the species. This premise is biologically impossible and is being actively undermined by, for example, imaging genomics. Anthropology (including archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology) is, in contrast, largely concerned with the diversification of human culture, language, and biology across time and space—it belongs fundamentally to the evolutionary sciences. The new cognitive sciences that will emerge from the interactions with the (...)
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  4. Stephen C. Levinson & Penelope Brown (2012). Put and Take in Yélî Dnye, the Papuan Language of Rossel Island. In Anetta Kopecka & Bhuvana Narasimhan (eds.), Events of "Putting" and "Taking": A Crosslinguistic Perspective. John Benjamins Pub. Co.. 100--273.
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  5. Stephen C. Levinson & Russell D. Gray (2012). Tools From Evolutionary Biology Shed New Light on the Diversification of Languages. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 16 (3):167-173.
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  6. Daniel B. M. Haun, Christian J. Rapold, Gabriele Janzen & Stephen C. Levinson (2011). Plasticity of Human Spatial Cognition: Spatial Language and Cognition Covary Across Cultures. Cognition 119 (1):70-80.
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  7. Stephen C. Levinson (2011). Reciprocals in Yélî Dnye, the Papuan Language of Rossel Island. In Nicholas Evans (ed.), Reciprocals and Semantic Typology. John Benjamins Pub. Company. 98--177.
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  8. Asifa Majid, Nicholas Evans, Alice Gaby & Stephen C. Levinson (2011). The Grammar of Exchange: A Comparative Study of Reciprocal Constructions Across Languages. Frontiers in Psychology 2:34.
    Cultures are built on social exchange. Most languages have dedicated grammatical machinery for expressing this. To demonstrate that statistical methods can also be applied to grammatical meaning, we here ask whether the underlying meanings of these grammatical constructions are based on shared common concepts. To explore this, we designed video stimuli of reciprocated actions (e.g. ‘giving to each other’) and symmetrical states (e.g. ‘sitting next to each other’), and with the help of a team of linguists collected responses from 20 (...)
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  9. Asifa Majid, Nicholas Evans, Alice Gaby & Stephen C. Levinson (2011). The Semantics of Reciprocal Constructions Across Languages. In Nicholas Evans (ed.), Reciprocals and Semantic Typology. John Benjamins Pub. Company. 29.
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  10. Jan Peter De Ruiter, Matthijs L. Noordzij, Sarah Newman-Norlund, Roger Newman-Norlund, Peter Hagoort, Stephen C. Levinson & Ivan Toni (2010). Exploring the Cognitive Infrastructure of Communication. Interaction Studies 11 (1):51-77.
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  11. Stephen C. Levinson (2010). Advancing Our Grasp of Constrained Variation in a Crucial Cognitive Domain. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (5):391-392.
    Jones's system of constraints promises interesting insights into the typology of kin term systems. Three problems arise: (1) the conflation of categories with algorithms that assign them threatens to weaken the typological predictions; (2) OT-type constraints have little psychological plausibility; (3) the conflation of kin-term systems and kinship systems may underplay the character of real kinship in action.
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  12. Asifa Majid & Stephen C. Levinson (2010). WEIRD Languages Have Misled Us, Too. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):103-103.
    The linguistic and cognitive sciences have severely underestimated the degree of linguistic diversity in the world. Part of the reason for this is that we have projected assumptions based on English and familiar languages onto the rest. We focus on some distortions this has introduced, especially in the study of semantics.
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  13. Disa A. Sauter & Stephen C. Levinson (2010). What's Embodied in a Smile? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (6):457-458.
    Differentiation of the forms and functions of different smiles is needed, but they should be based on the empirical data on distinctions that senders and receivers make and on the physical cues that are employed. Such data would allow for a test of whether smiles can be differentiated using perceptual cues alone or whether mimicry or simulation are necessary.
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  14. Nicholas Evans & Stephen C. Levinson (2009). The Myth of Language Universals: Language Diversity and its Importance for Cognitive Science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (5):429-448.
    Talk of linguistic universals has given cognitive scientists the impression that languages are all built to a common pattern. In fact, there are vanishingly few universals of language in the direct sense that all languages exhibit them. Instead, diversity can be found at almost every level of linguistic organization. This fundamentally changes the object of enquiry from a cognitive science perspective. This target article summarizes decades of cross-linguistic work by typologists and descriptive linguists, showing just how few and unprofound the (...)
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  15. Nicholas Evans & Stephen C. Levinson (2009). With Diversity in Mind: Freeing the Language Sciences From Universal Grammar. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (5):472-492.
    Our response takes advantage of the wide-ranging commentary to clarify some aspects of our original proposal and augment others. We argue against the generative critics of our coevolutionary program for the language sciences, defend the use of close-to-surface models as minimizing cross-linguistic data distortion, and stress the growing role of stochastic simulations in making generalized historical accounts testable. These methods lead the search for general principles away from idealized representations and towards selective processes. Putting cultural evolution central in understanding language (...)
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  16. Bjorn Merker, Nicholas Evans & Stephen C. Levinson (2009). Returning Language to Culture by Way of Biology. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (5):460.
    Conflation of our unique human endowment for language with innate, so-called universal, grammar has banished language from its biological home. The facts reviewed by Evans & Levinson (E&L) fit the biology of cultural transmission. My commentary highlights our dedicated learning capacity for vocal production learning as the form of our language endowment compatible with those facts.
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  17. Matthijs L. Noordzij, Sarah E. Newman-Norlund, Jan Peter De Ruiter, Peter Hagoort, Stephen C. Levinson & Ivan Toni (2009). Brain Mechanisms Underlying Human Communication. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 3:14.
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  18. Paul Smolensky, Emmanuel Dupoux, Nicholas Evans & Stephen C. Levinson (2009). Universals in Cognitive Theories of Language. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (5):468.
    Generative linguistics' search for linguistic universals (1) is not comparable to the vague explanatory suggestions of the article; (2) clearly merits a more central place than linguistic typology in cognitive science; (3) is fundamentally untouched by the article's empirical arguments; (4) best explains the important facts of linguistic diversity; and (5) illuminates the dominant component of language's nature: biology.
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  19. J. P. de Ruiter & Stephen C. Levinson (2008). A Biological Infrastructure for Communication Underlies the Cultural Evolution of Languages. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (5):518-518.
    Universal Grammar (UG) is indeed evolutionarily implausible. But if languages are just to a large primate brain, it is hard to see why other primates do not have complex languages. The answer is that humans have evolved a specialized and uniquely human cognitive architecture, whose main function is to compute mappings between arbitrary signals and communicative intentions. This underlies the development of language in the human species.
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  20. J. P. De Ruiter & Stephen C. Levinson (2008). Commentary/Christiansen & Chater: Language as Shaped A Biological Infrastructure for Communication Underlies the Cultural Evolution of Languages. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31:5.
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  21. Asifa Majid & Stephen C. Levinson (2008). Language Does Provide Support for Basic Tastes. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (1):86-87.
    Recurrent lexicalization patterns across widely different cultural contexts can provide a window onto common conceptualizations. The cross-linguistic data support the idea that sweet, salt, sour, and bitter are basic tastes. In addition, umami and fatty are likely basic tastes, as well.
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  22. Asifa Majid, Melissa Bowerman, Sotaro Kita, Daniel B. M. Haun & Stephen C. Levinson (2004). Can Language Restructure Cognition? The Case for Space. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8 (3):108-114.
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  23. Stephen C. Levinson (2003). Spatial Language. In L. Nadel (ed.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Nature Publishing Group.
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  24. Stephen C. Levinson, Sotaro Kita, Daniel B. M. Haun & Björn H. Rasch (2002). Returning the Tables: Language Affects Spatial Reasoning. Cognition 84 (2):155-188.
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  25. Stephen C. Levinson (2000). Presumptive Meanings: The Theory of Generalized Conversational Implicature. Mit Press.
    When we speak, we mean more than we say. In this book Stephen C. Levinson explains some general processes that underlie presumptions in communication.
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  26. Stephen C. Levinson (1998). Studying Spatial Conceptualization Across Cultures: Anthropology and Cognitive Science. Ethos 26 (1):7-24.
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  27. John J. Gumperz & Stephen C. Levinson (1996). Introduction: Linguistic Relativity Re-Examined. In J. Gumperz & S. Levinson (eds.), Rethinking Linguistic Relativity. Cambridge University Press. 1--18.
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  28. John J. Gumperz & Stephen C. Levinson (1996). Introduction to Part I. In J. Gumperz & S. Levinson (eds.), Rethinking Linguistic Relativity. Cambridge University Press. 21--36.
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  29. Stephen C. Levinson (1996). Relativity in Spatial Conception and Description. In J. Gumperz & S. Levinson (eds.), Rethinking Linguistic Relativity. Cambridge University Press. 177--202.
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  30. Stephen C. Levinson & Penelope Brown (1994). Immanuel Kant Among the Tenejapans: Anthropology as Empirical Philosophy. Ethos 22 (1):3-41.
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  31. Stephen C. Levinson (1987). Implicature Explicated? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 10 (4):722.
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