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psycholinguistics

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psycholinguistics

The Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics, edited by M. Gareth Gaskell (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Definition:

The study of the mental aspects of language and speech--a branch of both linguistics and psychology.

See also:

Etymology:

From the Greek, "mind" + the Latin, "tongue"

Observations:

  • "Psycholinguists study how word meaning, sentence meaning, and discourse meaning are computed and represented in the mind. They study how complex words and sentences are composed in speech and how they are broken down into their constituents in the acts of listening and reading. In short, psycholinguists seek to understand how language is done. . . .

    "In general, psycholinguistic studies have revealed that many of the concepts employed in the analysis of sound structure, word structure, and sentence structure also play a role in language processing. However, an account of language processing also requires that we understand how these linguistic concepts interact with other aspects of human processing to enable language production and comprehension."
    (William O'Grady, et al., Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001)


  • "Psycholinguistics . . . draws on ideas and knowledge from a number of associated areas, such as phonetics, semantics and pure linguistics. There is a constant exchange of information between psycholinguists and those working in neurolinguistics, who study how language is represented in the brain. There are also close links with studies in artificial intelligence. Indeed, much of the early interest in language processing derived from the AI goals of designing computer programs that can turn speech into writing and programs that can recognize the human voice."
    (John Field, Psycholinguistics: A Resource Book for Students. Routledge, 2003)


  • "Psycholinguistics has classically focused on button press tasks and reaction time experiments from which cognitive processes are being inferred. The advent of neuroimaging opened new research perspectives for the psycholinguist as it became possible to look at the neuronal mass activity that underlies language processing. Studies of brain correlates of psycholinguistic processes can complement behavioral results, and in some cases . . . can lead to direct information about the basis of psycholinguistic processes."
    (Friedmann Pulvermüller, "Word Processing in the Brain as Revealed by Neurophysiological Imaging." The Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics, ed. by M. Gareth Gaskell. Oxford Univ. Press, 2009)
Pronunciation: si-ko-lin-GWIS-tiks
Also Known As: psychology of language
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