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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - General Issues.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Christine Burton

Intro  3 processes – language: o comprehension (perceive/understand speech/written language) o production (construct utterance, idea to completed sentence) o acquisition (how children get language)  Psycholinguistics: psychological study of language (part of cognitive science) o Cog. Sci.: study the mind & mental processes (problem solving, imagery, language) o Linguistics: studies origin, structure, use of language Scope of Psycholinguistics  2 questions: o What knowledge of language is needed to us to use language o What cognitive processes (perception, memory) are involved in ordinary use of language Language Processes & Linguistic Knowledge  Knowledge – Tactic/Explicit o Tactic: how to perform acts (** most linguistic knowledge) o Explicit: processes/mechanisms used in acts  Language – o Semantics: meanings o Syntax: grammatical o Phonology: sound o Pragmatics: social rules 4 Language Examples  Garden Path : misleading, until read the whole sentence – “backtrack” o Focus attention on the relevant semantics between words, ignore the rest o eg. deal & finances >> business transaction vs. poker game  Indirect Request (Sociolinguistics) o Can you open the door vs. Open the door! o Request: attempt to change another person’s behavior – soften it w. indirect speech (politeness) – social situations >> sociolinguistics: study of language & social interactions  Aphasia Language (Neurolinguistics) o Aphasia: language disorder, brain damage  Wernicke’s: no semantics, phonology spared, syntax spared o Brain damage = see language in unified components  Child Language – language acquisition o Learn pragmatic rules (in tactic way)  choice of words (request = insistent, comment = not insistent) o Know Syntax >> express in 2 words @ a time (baby gone) –  Eliminate closed-class/function words – preposition, conjunctions  Favor open-class/content words – nouns, verbs, adjectives >> Intuitive understanding of 2 grammatical classes – syntax knowledge o Social context is important  Simplify speech, set up speech where 1 word is enough to communicate Historical Context  Flourished 2x: th o Europe (turn of 20 century) – linguists turned to psychologists  How do humans use language? o US (middle 20 century) – psychologists turned to linguists  What’s the nature of language?  Dominated by: behaviorism Early Psycholinguistics 1879 (first psych lab: Univ. of Leipzig, Germany)  early 1900s  Psychology: science of mental life Wilhelm Wundt – major figure  Study mental events (sensations, feelings, images); language = mind  Master of psycholinguistics – o Wrote about grammar, phonology, comprehension, sign, reading, child lang. acquisition  Contributions: theory of language production o primary unit of language: the sentence o speech = transforming complete thoughts into organized speech segments  comprehension – word by word into main idea o Bottom up vs. top down Edmund Henry  Study reading based on perception  Contributions: o Eye-voice span: lag btwn. eye position & voice
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