1. The Definition and Scope of Psycholinguistics
Psycholinguistics is the study of the mental faculties involved in the
perception, production, and acquisition of language.
The term itself was coined in 1951 thought had been going on even in the
nineteenth century in the form of the study of language development.
Agreeably, Cognitive Psychologists consider language to be one of the most
extraordinary and complex aspects of cognition. From the study of Language, the
field of psycholinguistics was born. Psycholinguistics by definition is:
“ The field of study that combines psychology and linguistics” (Boey, 1975).
“An interdisciplinary field that examines how people use language to
communicate ideas” (Matlin, 2005).
“ The study of normal and abnormal use of language and speech to gain a better
understanding of how human mind function” (Scovel, 1998)
Within the real of Psycholinguistics there is much interesting jargon which
refers to sounds, words, sentences, and more. This jargon includes such terms as
phonemes, morphemes, semantics, syntax, and pragmatics which in turn refer to
such aspects of language as word sounds, word meanings, grammatical rules, and
also the social rules which underline our usage of language.
One of the first proponents of a psychological view of language was Noam
Chomsky. Chomsky proposed that human language is innate and also that
language is modular or that it is uniquely different from other cognitive processes.
Another major principle created and influenced by Chomsky is transformational
grammar. Transformational grammar deals with converting underlying, deep
structure – the abstract meaning of a sentence – with surface structure - the words
that are actually spoken or written. Chomsky devised this form of grammar in
order to explain why two sentences that consist of two different surface structures
can have the same deep service, or vice versa – a.k.a. ambiguous sentences. From
Chomsky’s research, current cognitive psychologists have formulated the
cognitive functional approach to language which “emphasizes that the function of
human language is to communicate meaning to other individuals” (Matlin, 2005).
Psycholinguistics today is an evolving field with much untapped potential.
One particular aspect of language still untapped is that of cross-language studies.
The majority of today’s research is from an English language perspective. It
would be very faitful and highly valuable for people with other native language
structures, such as Korean or Chinese, to add their unbiased opinions to the study
Psycholinguistics or psychology of language is the study of the
psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire, use, and
Psycholinguistics covers the cognitive processes that make it possible to
generate a grammatical and meaningful sentence out of vocabulary and
grammatical structures, as well as the processes that make it possible to
understand utterances, words, text, etc.
Developmental psycholinguistics studies infants' and children's ability to learn
language, usually with experimental or at least quantitative methods (as opposed
to naturalistic observations such as those made by Jean Piaget in his research on
the development of children).
Psycholinguistics is interdisciplinary in nature and is studied by people in a
variety of fields, such as psychology, cognitive science, and linguistics.
There are several subdivisions within psycholinguistics that are based on the
components that make up human language.
Study of the mental processes involved in the comprehension,
production, and acquisition of language. Much psycholinguistic work has been
devoted to the learning of language by children and on speech processing and
comprehension by both children and adults. As we know that language is not a
simple process , it is a highly dynamic, active and complex process in which
several agents and components are involved. The agents involved in process of
language are the speaker as the producing agents and listener as the receiving
agents. In this site psycholinguistics has some role: That is psycholinguistics
studies language as a process, where it observe the speaker and listener construct
the communication using question answered to make understanding about the
material which communicated.
On the other hand, psycholinguistics is based on the general principles of
psychology as the science of the behavior of the human individuals as well as
on the general principles of linguistics as the science of language.
Consequently we may talk that psycholinguistics as an applied science as well as
basic science since psycholinguistics also formulates its own basic principles of
language as the most complex form of human behavior. Psycholinguistics studies
language primarily as a vehicle for communication of information or
intention. A co-ordinated work in this fields have been definitely yielding much
valuable information with regards to the communicative structure of language, as
well as it has paved way to more advanced communication system have several
such practical and technological advantages.
2. Language as Verbal Behavior
Behaviorism is different from most other approaches because they view
people (and animals) as controlled by their environment and specifically that we
are the result of what we have learned from our environment. Behaviorism is
concerned with how environmental factors (called stimuli) affect observable
behavior (called the response).
The behaviorist approach proposes two main processes where by people
learn from their environment: namely classical conditioning and operant
conditioning. Classical conditioning involves learning by association, and operant
conditioning involves learning from the consequences of behavior.
Behaviorism also believes in scientific methodology (e.g. controlled
experiments), and that only observable behavior should be studies because this
can be objectively measured. Behaviorism rejects the idea that people have free
will, and believes that the environment determines all behavior. Behaviorism is
the scientific study of observable behavior working on the basis that behavior can
be reduced to learned S-R (Stimulus-Response) units.
The essential components of verbal behavior i.e. the language behavior view
of man are verbal stimulates and verbal response. The entire behavior al patterns
of a community rests on these two components. The verbal behavior has more
teleological, nature than any other from behavior. Verbal behavior has structural
and functional dimension. It’s man behavior, a pattern of action, proceeding from
and entered around his personality. At the same time structurally it is language: a
behavior pattern, consisting of language.
3. Language as Biological Growth
A controversial point in regard to the essential nature development is the
biological features of language or the intellectual , creative features of
predominate in the process.
We can see the relation between linguistics and biology and biolinguistics
we shall see the role of biological features like the function of the nervous system
in language. The biological formulations from the basic of both language
acquisition and production. In several ways language acquisition described as
As a seed sprouts and grows into a tree of its own species and not of
another or as the embryo of a certain animal grows only into an animal of the
same species, the human offspring is endowed with of a set innate biological and
psychological features and specificities which from the directive principles in the
growth and the development of a child. The child is endowed with a set of
biological organs of speech of birth. Thought the intra- human animals do share in
several of this biological organs and are used for meeting the primary biological
needs such as eating and birthing, man do use the organs for linguistics purposes
as a secondary function. Lower animals too communicate themselves somehow
through variety of sounds by means and of these organs.
Among the organs of speech the most neglected and the least studies is the
auditory organ, the ears. The primary function of it is certainly the reception of
sounds. Sounds of the other hand it means primarily for communication of some
sort of all level of existence. Therefore one may ascertain that the organs of
audition are perhaps the most unique of speech- organs.
A part from all these biological organs of speech which are the natural
endowments of the child to develop a language, there are other aspect which make
language growth a biological function. A part from the presence of the organs of
speech which are the exterior causes for the production and reception of speech,
man processes a brain and the nervous system which are the real biological
substratum for language. The physical growth of the nervous system including
the brain and the organs of speech and auditions, is basic to the biological growth
The biological approach believes that most behavior is inherited and has an
adaptive (or evolutionary) function. For example, in the weeks immediately after
the birth of a child. This has an evolutionary function. Biological psychologists
explain behaviors in neurological terms, i.e. the physiology and structure of the
brain and how this influences behavior. Many biological psychologists have
concentrated on abnormal behavior and have tried to explain it. For example
biological psychologists believe that schizophrenia is affected by levels of
dopamine (a neurotransmitter).
These findings have helped psychiatry take off and help relieve the
symptoms of the mental illness through drugs. However Freud and other
disciplines would argue that this just treats the symptoms and not the cause. This
is where health psychologists take the finding that biological psychologists
produce and look at the environmental factors that are involved to get a better
4. Language as a Set of Habits
Language is speechless than speaking. It is the wholes set of linguistic
habits which allow an individual to understand and to be understood. But this
definition still leaves the language outside its social context; it makes language
something artificial since it includes only the individual part of reality; for the
realization of language, a community of speakers [masse parlante] is necessary.
Controversies one carried to the extreme as or to whether language learning
and production process consist nearly of habit formation and habitual process, or
it is an intellectual activity with habit formulation only as the under sell. In other
words the question is asked if language is set of habits or it is a rule -governed
behavior. The role of habit in the production language to be patterns of behavior
which are so much established in the neuromuscular system that they can be
involuntarily or semi consciously carried out.
To understand the nature of habits fully is good to compare two basic sets of
human activities reflex behavior and learned behavior . Reflex behavior are
automatics behavior patterns in animals, controlled by neuro- muscular activities,
when there is a dust pantile in the age at once our hands shots up to help the age
dispel the pantile; or man shifts the sleeping positions at night. In all such
behavior the governing factor is not the conscious attention of man, but it is the
result of neuro-muscular organization, a feature peculiar to animals and to some
extend to plants. It is process of biological adjustment as safeguard to life.
The basic of learned activities is repetition and practice such as a man learn for
So we can called habit as a learned activity acquires enough practice and
crossed the level of conscious manipulation. Reflexes are rudimentary habits
because they requires no conscious manipulation. Sometimes language is a
learned habit. Even though man, by nature and in virtue of his biological structure
, is dispersed to learning language , he is not so in so far as any particular
language is concerned.
5. Language as Creative Behaviour
Although every human have language but the rank of their own ability is
different, because the conscious every man is different too. This is major
difference between a beginner and well- versed speaker of language; especially
when it is use as a foreign language.
All language learners are involved with a complex cognitive process over
which students and teachers only have partial control. A language student has to
work in a most unique way with all the input he/she is given to construct
‘meaning’, and this involves a remarkable interactive process which combines
innate cognitive abilities and an individual method for relating to the world, which
for young children results in language being learnt in an incredibly short time
But language is not merely a set of habits, and language development is not
a mere process of habits-formation. Language crosses the boundary of habits and
enters the unfathomable horizon of creative experience. The role of creativity in
language resistances the status and dignity of man, as language is an experience
uniquely proper to man.
Language is a creative phenomenon , and language acquisition is a creative
experience. It will be poor performance and an injustice done to the blooming ,
energetic millions of L1 learners of language learning is described as a trial and
error process, imitation, conditioning or any form of stimulus response
connections. Instead, language creativity alone will do justice to the extremely
creative way the child acquires his native language.
For the example of study acquisition language is when the child get a lot of source
language begin from primary surrounding like family, school with the high
language and need a concentration, until the social surrounding. The child will
hear many kind of language. But they didn’t confuse because they choose what is
needed and reject if the child isn’t need. This is the essences linguistics creativity ,
which we cannot find the form it in speaking and writing. The child exercise on
intellectual assimilation of a given situation and which conscious awareness of the
situation he is able to produce the utterance in his language. This is very essence
of the child’s linguistics creativity. An energetic ,enthusiastic child comment in
with several surprise in course of the day manifesting his creative use of language.
This is reorganization of the verbal- context relationship a factor that doubtlessly
points out to the creative use of language. Several such language behavioral
features of the child are held precious by parents because the whole things is a
rewarding experience for the parents who anxiously watch the language growth of
the child especially at its early phases.
6. Language as Communication
One of the foremost preoccupations of psycholinguistics is the
communicative nature. Self -expression is a feature that is almost the definition of
human personality. For psycholinguistics, the functional aim of language is
There is a system of rules (known as grammar) which govern the
communication between members of a particular speech community. Grammar is
influenced by both sound and meaning, and includes morphology (the formation
and composition of words), syntax (the formation and composition of phrases and
sentences from these words), and phonology (sound systems). Through corpus
linguistics, large chunks of text can be analysed for possible occurrences of
certain linguistic features, and for stylistic patterns within a written or spoken
discourse. One major debate in linguistics concerns how language should be
defined and understood. Some linguists use the term "language" primarily to refer
to a hypothesis, innate module in the human brain that allows people to undertake
linguistic behavior, which is part of the formalist approach. This "universal
grammar" is considered to guide children when they learn languages and to
constrain what sentences are considered grammatical in any language.
Another group of linguists, by contrast, use the term "language" to refer to a
communication system that developed to support cooperative activity and extend
cooperative networks. Such functional theories of grammar view language as a
tool that emerged and is adapted to the communicative needs of its users, and the
role of cultural evolutionary processes are often emphasis over that of biological
Language is a symbolic behavioral system . As such information is fed into
language. The process of conforming a given information with a set of linguistics
material or a symbolic system is known as encoding. Encoding is involves on the
part of the speakers several choice. The process of recognizing or extracting the
given information from the symbolic system or code is known as decoding. This
is fundamental structure of communication . The reader should be to identify
information later with the semantic and conceptual contents.