313DEL Language and the Mind

Content related to module 313DEL Language and the Mind.

Module Summary

The aim of the module is to give students an advanced understanding of the psychological aspects of language using the English language as a typical example but examining principles that would also apply to other languages. By psychological aspects we mean those processes in the mind that help us learn and store language, then retrieve it when we want to use it. As we learn more and more about the brain, we are beginning to understand where and how language is stored and how it is used to comprehend language when we listen or read; and how it is used to produce language when we speak or write.

The module will start out with a look at the origins of language and how it has developed in the human race. We will look at what it means to ‘know a language’ and consider whether it is unique in the animal kingdom. The module will them move on to look at how and where language is located in the brain and the mind. Following on from this we will look at two major aspects of psycholinguistics: how language is recognised (i.e. listening/reading) and how it is produced (i.e. speaking/writing). We will also consider several disorders of language production including aphasia, autism, dyslexia and stuttering.

The knowledge gained through the module will be useful for students wishing to go into education (e.g. teaching) or the medical profession (e.g. nursing). It will also be useful for those considering careers in TEFL or speech & language therapy. Finally the module will also be useful for those wishing to understand their own language processing capabilities (or maybe that of a family member) and may provide inspiration for final-year dissertation topics.