Terms for psychology and laguage teaching


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Terms for psychology and laguage teaching

  1. 1. Useful TermsLinguistics: The study of the nature, structure, and variation oflanguage, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax,semantics, sociolinguistics, and pragmatics. (The AmericanHeritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Editioncopyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009.Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.)Applied Linguistics:"[A]pplied linguistics is an area of work thatdeals with language use in professional settings, translation,speech pathology, literacy, and language education; and it is notmerely the application of linguistic knowledge to such settingsbut is a semiautonomous and interdisciplinary . . . domain of workthat draws on but is not dependent on areas such as sociology,education, anthropology, cultural studies, and psychology."(Alastair Pennycook, Critical Applied Linguistics: A CriticalIntroduction. Routledge, 2001). Applied Linguistics (AL) provides the theoretical anddescriptive foundations for the investigation and solution oflanguage-related problems, especially those of language education(first-language, second-language and foreign-language teaching andlearning), but also problems of translation and interpretation,lexicography, forensic linguistics and (perhaps) clinicallinguistics. As far as the Research Assessment Exercise isconcerned, research in AL is assessed by the Linguistics panel,and covers areas of basic research in the general territory ofLinguistics - parts of discourse analysis, sociolinguistics,language acquisition - as well as language-related research inspecialized areas such as pedagogy and the theories of translationand lexicography. The main distinguishing characteristic of AL isits concern with professional activities whose aim is to solve`real-world language-based problems, which means that researchtouches on a particularly wide range of issues - psychological,pedagogical, social, political and economic as well as linguistic. As a consequence, AL research tends to be interdisciplinary. It is generally agreed that in spite of its name AL is notsimply the `application of research done in Linguistics. On theone hand, AL has to look beyond Linguistics for relevant researchand theory, so AL research often involves the synthesis ofresearch from a variety of disciplines, including Linguistics. Onthe other hand, AL has been responsible for the development of
  2. 2. original research in a number of areas of Linguistics - e.g.bilingualism, literacy, genre. Beyond this agreement, there is at least as much disagreementwithin AL as within Linguistics about fundamental issues of theoryand method, which leads (among other things) to differences ofopinion about the relationships between the two disciplines.(Anattempt at definition by Dick Hudson)Psychology: Psychology is both an applied and academic field thatstudies the human mind and behavior. Research in psychology seeksto understand and explain thought, emotion and behavior.Applications of psychology include mental health treatment,performance enhancement, self-help, ergonomics and many otherareas affecting health and daily life. Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Thediscipline embraces all aspects of the human experience — from thefunctions of the brain to the actions of nations, from childdevelopment to care for the aged. In every conceivable settingfrom scientific research centers to mental health care services,"the understanding of behavior" is the enterprise ofpsychologists. (APA)Cognitive Psychology: Cognitive psychology is the branch ofpsychology that studies mental processes including how peoplethink, perceive, remember and learn. As part of the larger field ofcognitive science, this branch of psychology is related to otherdisciplines including neuroscience, philosophy and linguistics.The core focus of cognitive psychology is on how people acquire,process and store information. There are numerous practicalapplications for cognitive research, such as improving memory,increasing decision-making accuracy and structuring educationalcurricula to enhance learning. Until the 1950s, behaviorism was the dominant school ofthought in psychology. Between 1950 and 1970, the tide began toshift against behavioral psychology to focus on topics such asattention, memory and problem-solving. Often referred to as thecognitive revolution, this period generated considerable researchincluding processing models, cognitive research methods and thefirst use of the term "cognitive psychology." The term "cognitive psychology" was first used in 1967 byAmerican psychologist Ulric Neisser in his book CognitivePsychology. According to Neisser, cognition involves "all
  3. 3. processes by which the sensory input is transformed, reduced,elaborated, stored, recovered, and used. It is concerned withthese processes even when they operate in the absence of relevantstimulation, as in images and hallucinations... Given such asweeping definition, it is apparent that cognition is involved ineverything a human being might possibly do; that everypsychological phenomenon is a cognitive phenomenon."Schema:A schema is a cognitive framework or concept that helpsorganize and interpret information. Schemas can be useful, becausethey allow us to take shortcuts in interpreting a vast amount ofinformation. However, these mental frameworks also cause us toexclude pertinent information in favor of information that confirmsour pre-existing beliefs and ideas. Schemas can contribute tostereotypes and make it difficult to retain new information thatdoes not conform to our established schemas.The History of SchemasThe use of schemas as a basic concept was first used by a Britishpsychologist named Frederic Bartlett as part of his learningtheory which suggested that our understanding of the world isformed by a network of abstract mental structures. Theorist Jean Piaget introduced the term schema and its usewas popularized through his work. According to his stage theory ofcognitive development, children go through a series of stages ofintellectual development. In Piagets theory, a schema is both thecategory of knowledge as well as the process of acquiring thatknowledge. As experiences happen and new information is presented,new schemas are developed and old schemas are changed or modified.Schema Examples For example, a young child may first develop a schema for ahorse. She knows that a horse is large, has hair, four legs and atail. When the little girl encounters a cow for the first time, shemight initially call it a horse. After all, it fits in with herschema for the characteristics of a horse; it is a large animalthat has hair, four legs and a tail. Once she is told that this isa different animal called a cow, she will modify her existingschema for a horse and create a new schema for a cow.Now, lets imagine that this very young girl encounters aminiature horse for the first time and mistakenly identifies it as adog. Her parents explain to her that the animal is actually a very
  4. 4. small type of horse, so the little girl must this time modify herexisting schema for horses. She now realizes that while somehorses are very large animals, others can be very small. Throughher new experiences, her existing schemas are modified and newinformation is learned.Problems With Schemas While the use of schemas to learn in most situations occursautomatically or with little effort, sometimes an existing schemacan actually hinder the learning of new information. Prejudice isone example of schema that prevents people from seeing the world asit really is and inhibits them from taking in new information. Byholding certain beliefs about a particular group of people, thisexisting schema may cause people to interpret situationsincorrectly. When an event happens that challenges these existingbeliefs, people may come up with alternative explanations thatuphold and support their existing schema instead of adapting orchanging their beliefsPsycholinguistics: Psycholinguists study how word meaning, sentencemeaning, and discourse meaning are computed and represented in themind. They study how complex words and sentences are composed inspeech and how they are broken down into their constituents in theacts of listening and reading. In short, psycholinguists seek tounderstand how language is done. . . . In general, psycholinguistic studies have revealed that manyof the concepts employed in the analysis of sound structure, wordstructure, and sentence structure also play a role in languageprocessing. However, an account of language processing alsorequires that we understand how these linguistic concepts interactwith other aspects of human processing to enable languageproduction and comprehension.(William OGrady, et al., Contemporary Linguistics: AnIntroduction. Bedford/St. Martins, 2001) Psycholinguistics . . . draws on ideas and knowledge from anumber of associated areas, such as phonetics, semantics and purelinguistics. There is a constant exchange of information betweenpsycholinguists and those working in neurolinguistics, who studyhow language is represented in the brain. There are also closelinks with studies in artificial intelligence. Indeed, much of theearly interest in language processing derived from the AI goals ofdesigning computer programs that can turn speech into writing and
  5. 5. programs that can recognize the human voice."(John Field, Psycholinguistics: A Resource Book for Students.Routledge, 2003) Psycholinguistics has classically focused on button presstasks and reaction time experiments from which cognitive processesare being inferred. The advent of neuroimaging opened new researchperspectives for the psycholinguist as it became possible to lookat the neuronal mass activity that underlies language processing.Studies of brain correlates of psycholinguistic processes cancomplement behavioral results, and in some cases . . . can lead todirect information about the basis of psycholinguistic processes.(Friedmann Pulvermüller, "Word Processing in the Brain as Revealedby Neurophysiological Imaging." The Oxford Handbook ofPsycholinguistics, ed. by M. Gareth Gaskell. Oxford Univ. Press,2009)SLA or Second Language Acquisition:Second language acquisition(also known as second language learning or sequential languageacquisition) refers to the process by which a person learns a"foreign" language--that is, a language other than his or hermother tongue.Universal Grammar: the study of general principles believed tounderlie the grammatical phenomena of all languages; also : suchprinciples viewed as part of an innate human capacity for learninga language. In linguistics, the theory of universal grammar holds thatthere are certain fundamental grammatical ideas which all humanspossess, without having to learn them. Universal grammar acts as away to explain how language acquisition works in humans, byshowing the most basic rules that all languages have to follow.The basic idea of universal grammar, that there are foundationalrules in common among all humans, has been around since the 13thcentury. In the following centuries this idea led manyphilosophers to try to design a perfect language from the groundup, taking into account what they felt were the core principles ofall languages. The most famous theory of the idea of a universal grammar wasput forth by the linguist Noam Chomsky in the 1950s. Chomsky heldthat there was a universal grammar hardwired into the brain of allhumans, and that all human languages had evolved on top of that
  6. 6. universal grammar, and that children learned their nativelanguages using the universal grammar as a support structure.Monitor Theory:This hypothesis shows how acquisition and learningare two different processes. The ability to produce utterances ina second language comes from the acquired competence, from thesubconscious knowledge. On the other hand, learning which is aconscious knowledge serves only as an editor, or Monitor. Thelearned knowledge helps us to make corrections or change theoutput of the acquired system. According to Gass & Selinker (1994), Krashen has stated threeconditions to be met to access the learned system. The threeconditions for Monitor are: 1. Time. Second language learners need enough time to think consciously about the rules they learned. 2. Focus on form. Besides time, the learner needs to focus not only on what to say but also how to say it, the form. 3. Know the rule. Second language learners should know the rules of the language in order to use them. As McLaughlin (1987) reported, Krashen has divided secondlanguage learners when using the Monitor process into three typesdue to their individual differences. These three types are: 1. Monitor over-users. This is when performers Monitor all the time. As a result, they may speak with hesitation and usually correct themselves in the middle of the utterance. Sometimes, this happens when second language learners are taught only grammar. 2. Monitor under-users. This is when performers depend only on the acquired system. They do so either because they have not learned or because they don’t want to use their learned system. They don’t self-correct even if the three conditions are met. They just use their ‘feel’ for correctness. 3. The optimal Monitor user. This is when the performer uses the Monitor process when it is suitable and will not affect communication. When the three conditions are met, the optimal performer will Monitor to make his output more accurate.Behaviorism: Behavioral psychology, also known as behaviorism, isa theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviors areacquired through conditioning. Conditioning occurs throughinteraction with the environment. According to behaviorism,
  7. 7. behavior can be studied in a systematic and observable manner withno consideration of internal mental states.There are two major types of conditioning: 1. Classical conditioning is a technique used in behavioral training in which a naturally occurring stimulus is paired with a response. Next, a previously neutral stimulus is paired with the naturally occurring stimulus. Eventually, the previously neutral stimulus comes to evoke the response without the presence of the naturally occurring stimulus. The two elements are then known as the conditioned stimulus and the conditioned response. 2. Operant conditioning Operant conditioning (sometimes referred to as instrumental conditioning) is a method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior. Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior.Connectionism: a school of cognitive science that holds that humanmental processes (as learning) can be explained by thecomputational modeling of neural nets which are thought tosimulate the actions of interconnected neurons in the brain. Connectionism is a movement in cognitive science which hopesto explain human intellectual abilities using artificial neuralnetworks (also known as ‘neural networks’ or ‘neural nets’).Neural networks are simplified models of the brain composed oflarge numbers of units (the analogs of neurons) together withweights that measure the strength of connections between theunits. These weights model the effects of the synapses that linkone neuron to another. Experiments on models of this kind havedemonstrated an ability to learn such skills as face recognition,reading, and the detection of simple grammatical structure. Philosophers have become interested in connectionism becauseit promises to provide an alternative to the classical theory ofthe mind: the widely held view that the mind is something akin to adigital computer processing a symbolic language. Exactly how andto what extent the connectionist paradigm constitutes a challengeto classicism has been a matter of hot debate in recent years.Interactionism:First Language Acquisition The theory under discussion concentrates on the relationbetween the linguistic environment and the child’s mental
  8. 8. capacities. The interactionists claim that language maturation isa result of the complex interplay between the unique humanfaculties and the environment in which the child grows up. Unlikegenerative linguists, the interactionists argue that themodification of speech to suit the abilities of the learner  is anessential component of the  language acquisition process(Lightbown and Spada 1993: 13-14; Davies and Elder 2004: 518). Many interactionist researchers have studied the adultmodified speech used to address children and noticed that this typeof speech involves slower simple sentences, repetition andparaphrase. They have also found that conversation is oftenrestricted to the child’s environment and that adults often repeatchildren’s speech in a syntactic correct way. It is extremely difficult to say whether the modification ofchildren speech by adults is important. Children who do notreceive such modified speech will still acquire language, but theymay also access this type of input when they are with theirsiblings or other adults (Lightbown and Spada 1993: 14). To theinteractionist, the importance lies in the speech interaction inwhich the adult estimates the level of language the child iscapable of processing. The significance of child-adult interactionseems to be clear when examining the unusual cases in which it ismissing. Second Language Acquisition As indicated above, a crucial element in the process oflanguage acquisition is the modified input to which learners areexposed and the way native speakers interact with learners.Proponents of the interactionist view (Long 1985) claim thatinteractional modification makes input comprehensible which, inturn, facilitates and promotes acquisition. Therefore,interactional modification must be necessary for languageacquisition. Long argues that there are no cases of acquiring asecond language from natives without the modification of speech insome way. In fact, research shows that native speakers modifytheir speech when they talk with non-native speakers (Lightbownand Spada 1993: 30). Research which has been carried out to examinethese claims proved that conversational tuning can aidcomprehension, but no research provided conclusive evidence thatcomprehensible input causes or explains acquisition (Davies andElder 2004: 518).