January 8 , 2014
Psych 3UU3: The Psychology of Language
Four potential short essay questions, answers to be about a page long; answer 2
out of 4 worth 5% each, and 5 short answer questions worth 1%
Assigned article each week: summary no longer than one page double spaced and
write three question about the article due at the beginning of each class
Read chapter 1, look through chapter 2
Understand how the evidence works in this field
Understand the progression of thinking
Why is it interesting?
What role does it play in our lives?
Why should we study it?
What would be good to know?
Language is an incredible human invention
Human civilization would probably be impossible without language
Language allows us to transmit information from one brain to another
Allows us to efficiently communicate information about things that aren’t
physically present (includes distant, past, future, abstract things)
Allows individuals to communicate, but also allows for the accumulation of
information over entire civilizations through time
However, language is really hard
How Hard is Speaking?
During the course of this day you might say about 20000 words
These will be chosen from a vocabulary of approximately 80000 words
This can be done at approximately 200 words per minute
Those words in your English vocabulary will be made up of about 40 different
phonemes which are spoken at a rate of about 11 per second
Some Important Concepts (An Overview)
Prescriptive vs. descriptive
• Prescriptive: what you ought to do – some set of “rules”
• Descriptive: what the language actually is
• Psycholinguistics: language is what is in your head
Language is not an external thing that can be studied
Language is in your head
We have nonlinguistic th