IMPRS students publish winning article on NEMO Kennislink

14 November 2018
For the annual writing course ‘Current Issues in the Language Sciences’ graduate students of the IMPRS for Language Sciences are judged on an article written for the general audience. The winning article of this year’s competition - written by Cohort 2017 members Gert-Jan Schoenmakers, Merel Postema and Katja Stärk - got recently published on the Dutch popular scientific website NEMO Kennislink.

Their article ‘Stappenplan voor een nieuwe taal’ (‘An excerpt from the linguistic cookbook’) is the product of an annual two-part IMPRS workshop conducted by Dutch science journalist Ronald Veldhuizen. In small groups, IMPRS PhD students selected at least one prominent language researcher to learn about the current issues in the various domains of the language sciences. After conducting interviews, they were tasked with communicating these findings in an accessible manner for the layperson.

All articles were reviewed by a panel comprised of scientific and non-scientific members. They were MPI Managing Director Prof. Peter Hagoort, science journalist Erica Renckens, scientist and former columnist Dr. Merel van Goch and author/layperson Rachel Sheer.

Creating a new language

For their article the winning team interviewed Prof. Federico Gobbo from the University of Amsterdam and the professional language creator David J. Peterson on artificial languages and the process of creating a new language. The jury especially liked the topic and the structure the authors used to describe the steps involved in language creation.

‘We simply found the topic of artificial languages and language creation fascinating ourselves, especially from a linguistic point of view. It was really insightful and a great experience to talk to David J. Peterson and Federico Gobbo not only about the theoretical but also the practical side of creating and thinking about all the aspects which make a language,’ Schoenmakers, Postema and Stärk explained.

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