International Conference on the Evolution of Language (Evolang) 2024

May 18-21
Madison, WI

Conference Details

EVOLANG is the largest international meeting for researchers working on the origin and evolution of language. The conference is highly interdisciplinary, with contributions from disciplines including, but not limited to: anthropology, archeology, biology, cognitive science, genetics, linguistics, computational modeling (including mathematical, agent-based, and neural-network models), paleontology, physiology, primatology, philosophy, semiotics, and psychology. Typically, about 300 delegates attend, with representatives from all these disciplines.

The conference language will be English. We will have ASL interpreters on hand for providing interpreting to/from ASL (other sign languages may be a possibility) To gauge demand for interpreting services, please complete this survey if you think you could benefit from sign language interpreting.

Registration is now open!

EVOLANG XV starts in

Plenary Speakers

Image of invited plenary speaker Marieke Schouwstra from University of Amsterdam
Marieke Schouwstra
University of Amsterdam
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Image of invited plenary speaker Nick Enfield from University of Sydney
Nick Enfield

University of Sydney
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Image of invited plenary speaker Marie Coppola from University of Connecticut
Marie Coppola
University of Connecticut
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Image of invited plenary speaker Salikoko Mufwene from University of Chicago
Salikoko Mufwene
University of Chicago
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Image of invited plenary speaker Nicole Creanza from Vanderbilt University
Nicole Creanza
Vanderbilt University
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Workshops (May 18th)

  • Large-scale computational approaches to evolution and change: prospects and pitfalls
  • Andres Karjus (, Nina Tahmasebi (, Haim Dubossarsky (, Stefano De Pascale (
  • Additional information
  • What allows human language? a multidisciplinary perspective
  • Nicolas Claidière ( Speakers include Inbal Arnon, Tecumseh Fitch, Simon Kirby, Susan Goldin Meadow, Simon Fisher, Limor Raviv, Kazuo Okanoya, Lucie Wolters, and Liran Carmel
  • Comparative turn-taking: A new approach to tackle language origins
  • Fanny Tibesar (, Simone Pika (
  • What is children’s role in shaping language evolution?
  • Shira Tal (, Jennifer Culbertson ( )
  • Causal approaches to investigating language evolution: New studies of the association between phonology and climate
  • Seán Roberts ( and Frederik Hartmann (
  • Info and schedule
  • EMOLANG: What can communicative signals of positive emotions tell us about the evolution of language?
  • Heidi Lyn (, Erica Cartmill (
  • Interactive alignment in the evolution of vocal communication
  • Julia Hyland Bruno ( and Olga Fehér (
  • Submission Information

    Please see here for complete information on submission requirements.
    There are two types of submissions:
    1. Abstracts (up to 2 pages, excl. references and acknowledgements).
    2. Full papers (up to 6 pages, excl. references and acknowledgements)

    Authors are limited to one first-authored podium presentation (15 min talk + 5 min Q&A) and one first-authored poster. There is no limit on the number of submissions for which you can be a non-first author. When submitting, please indicate your preferred mode of presentation (podium talk or poster). We hope to see as many of you as possible in person, but we understand that travel to the US is not possible for all presenters. We will be able to offer a limited number of virtual flash talks and podium presentations. All accepted submissions will be published in an online proceedings volume to appear before the start of the conference. Submissions portal will open Sept 7th, 2023. In addition, we are soliciting workshop proposals which should be emailed directly to Gary Lupyan at

    Normal standards of academic excellence apply. Submitted papers should make clear how they advance the study of language evolution and relate any novel results to up to date scientific literature. Submissions should make clear the method by which their claims are substantiated, the nature of the relevant data, and/or the core of the theoretical argument. Submissions centered around empirical studies should not rest on preliminary results. All submissions are refereed by at least three relevant referees, and acceptance is based on a scoring scheme pooling the reports of the referees. In recent conferences, the acceptance rate has been about 50%.

    Posters should fit on a 91" wide x 44" tall poster board.


    Local Organizing Committee

  • Gary Lupyan (Local organizer)
  • Robert Hawkins (Liaison to Scientific Committee)
  • Magdalen Stone (Logistics Assistant)
  • Zachary Studdiford (Technical Assistant)
  • Scientific Committee

  • Limor Raviv (chair)
  • Jonas Nölle (chair)
  • Kirstie Graham
  • Yannick Jadoul
  • Mathilde Josserand
  • Stefan Hartmann
  • Theresa Matzinger
  • Katie Mudd
  • Michael Pleyer
  • Anita Slonimska
  • Slawomir Wacewicz
  • Stuart Watson
  • Venue

    Welcome to Madison!

    Madison (pop. ~272k) is the capital of Wisconsin and the home of University of Wisconsin's flagship campus. The conference will be held at the Monona Terrace--a beautiful conference venue designed by Frank Lloyd Wright on the shores of Lake Monona. We invite you to take advantage of this time away from your daily lives to catch up on the latest developments in the field and to deepen your appreciation of the amazing research being done in the language evolution community. We also invite you to consider how our work may be a force for positive change back in the real world. We hope you will take us up on these invitations--in the conference hall, at the lively Union Terrace, at the Saturday farmer’s market on the Capitol Square, and at the many fine eating and drinking establishments nearby. We will also be planning several excursions after the main conference.

    Fly to Madison

    We recommend flying into Dane County Regional Airport (MSN) which has nonstop flights to many major cities around the country and has the benefit of being just 10 minutes from downtown Madison. From MSN, you can get to downtown using a taxi, Uber, or Lyft.

    MSN →
    Fly to Milwaukee

    Another option is to fly to Milwaukee (MKE), a slightly larger airport, about 80 miles East of Madison. Milwaukee has more flights and depending on your origin may be cheaper. There's a direct bus from MKE to Madison, but make sure to check the bus schedule first.

    Bus Info → 🚌
    Fly to Chicago

    Another option, which may make sense if you're traveling internationally, is to fly to Chicago's O'Hare airport (ORD, about 130 miles Southeast of Madison) and take a bus to Madison (~3hrs, but is sometimes faster than connecting to a flight to Madison).

    Bus Info → 🚌


    We have pre-booked room blocks at several hotels within short walking distance to the conference venue. You can reserve a room at Hilton Monona Terrace or call Hilton Reservtions at 800-445-8667 or the hotel directly at 608-255-5100 and reference the group code EVO24. An alternative is Park Hotel Madison. Both hotels offer single and double rooms. The registration page has a option to indicate that you are interested in sharing a double room with a fellow attendee. Registered attendees will get a link to a spreadsheet for facilitating room-sharing.

    Image of the Monona Convention Center in Madison, Wisconsin
    Aerial image of downtown Madison, Wisconsin
    Photo of the Memorial Union Terrace overlooking Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin
    View of the State St. Pedestrian Mall in Madison, Wisconsin