University of Edinburgh
Jim Hurford was trained as an articulatory phonetician, and has written textbooks on semantics and grammar, two books of numeral systems and three books on the origins and evolution of language, beside articles and book chapters on phonetics, syntax, phonology, language acquisition and pragmatics. He has a broad interest in reconciling various traditions in Linguistics which have tended to conflict. His work is interdisciplinary, based in linguistics, but reaching out to, and taking insights and data from, anthropology, psychology, neuroscience, genetics, artificial intelligence and philosophy. His work brings together the work of formal linguists who study words and sentences out of their communicative context, psycholinguists and neuroscientists who study the brain processes underlying language use, and anthropologists and sociolinguists who emphasize how language is embedded in social groups. He has worked on articulating frameworks in which representations of languages in individual minds interact with properties of languages used in communities. These frameworks emphasize the interaction of evolution, learning and communication. Early work focussed on the properties of numeral systems, and this broadened out to the topic of the evolution of language, in all senses of that phrase. He produced some of the earliest computer simulations of aspects of the evolution of language. For chronological career details, see http://www.lel.ed.ac.uk/~jim/thumbnail.html .