Saturday, 23 June 2012


Psycholinguistics or psychology of language is the study of the psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire, use, comprehend and produce language. Initial forays into psycholinguistics were largely philosophical ventures, due mainly to a lack of cohesive data on how the human brain functioned. Modern research makes use of biology, neuroscience, cognitive science, linguistics, and information theory to study how the brain processes language. There are a number of subdisciplines with non-invasive techniques for studying the neurological workings of the brain; for example, neurolinguistics has become a field in its own right.
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 children's ability to learn language.

Linguistics-related areas:
  • Phonetics and phonology are concerned with the study of speech sounds. Within psycholinguistics, research focuses on how the brain processes and understands these sounds.
  • Morphology is the study of word structures, especially the relationships between related words (such as dog and dogs) and the formation of words based on rules (such as plural formation).
  • Syntax is the study of the patterns which dictate how words are combined to form sentences.
  • Semantics deals with the meaning of words and sentences. Where syntax is concerned with the formal structure of sentences, semantics deals with the actual meaning of sentences.
  • Pragmatics is concerned with the role of context in the interpretation of meaning.

Semantics (from Greek: sēmantiká, neuter plural of sēmantikós)[1][2] is the study of meaning. It focuses on the relation between signifiers, such as words, phrases, signs, and symbols, and what they stand for, their denotata.
Linguistic semantics is the study of meaning that is used to understand human expression through language. Other forms of semantics include the semantics of programming languages, formal logics, and semiotics.
The word semantics itself denotes a range of ideas, from the popular to the highly technical. It is often used in ordinary language to denote a problem of understanding that comes down to word selection or connotation. This problem of understanding has been the subject of many formal inquiries, over a long period of time, most notably in the field of formal semantics. In linguistics, it is the study of interpretation of signs or symbols as used by agents or communities within particular circumstances and contexts.[3] Within this view, sounds, facial expressions, body language, and proxemics have semantic (meaningful) content, and each has several branches of study. In written language, such things as paragraph structure and punctuation have semantic content; in other forms of language, there is other semantic content.[3]
The formal study of semantics intersects with many other fields of inquiry, including lexicology, syntax, pragmatics, etymology and others, although semantics is a well-defined field in its own right, often with synthetic properties.[4] In philosophy of language, semantics and reference are closely connected. Further related fields include philology, communication, and semiotics. The formal study of semantics is therefore complex.
Semantics contrasts with syntax, the study of the combinatorics of units of a language (without reference to their meaning), and pragmatics, the study of the relationships between the symbols of a language, their meaning, and the users of the language.[5]
In international scientific vocabulary semantics is also called semasiology.


Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics which studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. Pragmatics encompasses speech act theory, conversational implicature, talk in interaction and other approaches to language behavior in philosophy, sociology, and linguistics.[1] It studies how the transmission of meaning depends not only on the linguistic knowledge (e.g. grammar, lexicon etc.) of the speaker and listener, but also on the context of the utterance, knowledge about the status of those involved, the inferred intent of the speaker, and so on.[2] In this respect, pragmatics explains how language users are able to overcome apparent ambiguity, since meaning relies on the manner, place, time etc. of an utterance.[1] The ability to understand another speaker's intended meaning is called pragmatic competence. Pragmatic awareness is regarded as one of the most challenging aspects of language learning, and, though it can be taught, often comes only through experience.



No comments:

Post a Comment