Sep 22, 2023  
2014-2016 Undergraduate Catalog 
2014-2016 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

PY 4350 - Psychology of Language

The course is about understanding how we humans can do language at all. The first task is to understand what LANGUAGE is and to distinguish it from nonhuman communication systems. The second task is to investigate how a specific language is acquired. The third task is to investigate how language affects thought. Tasks four through seven study the meaning of meaning, the nature of words and how we derive meaning from them, how we understand sentences and texts, and speech. Many scholars defend the proposition that language is a (or the primary) characteristic that distinguishes humans (Homo sapiens) from all other species. This suggests that humans possess unique cognitive and neurological mechanisms that enable ordinary language acquisition and use. The overarching task then is to understand what these mechanisms are and how they interact to enable the enormous creative potential that language mediates. Principal topics include: acquisition, comprehension, production, and the relationship of language to thought. Speech perception, discourse processing, and the biological foundations of language receive substantial time. Reading, sign language, conversational interaction, cultural influences on language, and language and pathology also receive treatment.

Prerequisite: PY 1000 ; PY 3100  or PY 3110 ;PY 3300  or PY 3350 ; PY 4300 , or instructor approval.