Psycholinguistic is an integration of psychology ana linguistic. Psychology is the study of the mind and how it influences behaviour and linguistic is the scientific study of the language. As for Psycholinguistic, it is the study of how individuals comprehend, produce ana acquire language. That is to say, Psycholinguistic deals with how people use language.
The Scope of Psycholinguistics
Psycholinguistics focuses on the knowledge of language ana the mental processes involved in the ordinary language use. Therefore, there are two fundamental questions lying at the core of Psycholinguistics. Psycholinguistics tries to answer ‘What knowledge of language is needed for us to use in language?’ and ‘What cognitive processses are involved in the ordinary use of language ?’
Firstly, we must know a language in order to use it. Generally, we must have a tacit knowledge because we can use unconscious process that involves the naturalistic development of language proficiency through understanding language anf through using language for meaningful communication.That is to say we unconsciously know how to perform various acts. On the other hand, we refer to a processin which conscious rules about a language are developed ana it results in explicit knowledge about the language ana the ability to verbalize this knowledge.
For example; we might know how to speak, meanings of the sentences in a language but we don’t know what processes are involved in comprehending ana producing that language. Finally, much of our linguistic knowledge realizes tacitly.
Also, when we say ‘we know a language ‘we must know its semantics, syntax, phonology and pragmatics. Semantics is the study of the meanings of sentences and words. Syntax is the study of what speakers mean ana social rules involved in language use. In order to use a languge, we have enough linguistic competence.
Apart from these, we ordinarily use a language by writing a letter, reading a novel or understanding a lesson but we have some processes such as perception, memory and thinking while doing these. It seems as if we did few things while listening or speaking but these processes are going on.
Psycholinguistics is a field of cognitive science.Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary one that includes the insights of psychology, linguistics, neurolinguistic, sociolinguistic ana philosophy.
Firstly it cooperates with the philosophy. Philosophy is a field interested in questions that are difficult to answer. Psycholinguistcs also asks questions about how human mind works, how people use a language.
Linguistic knowledge and language processes affect each other in the same way. The interplay of linguistic knwledge and language proscesses have a central role in psycholinguistic work. For example; in some sentences some polysemous words are used and these words cause to ambiguity. To solve this problem, we should know the whole context in which words are used.
‘We were sitting near the bank when she called us.Around us, there were few people. Everybody was waiting that it was 9 o’clock to check their finances.
When we look at the word ‘bank’ in the first sentence, we immediately think of it as a side of river. I mean we make an interpretation but when we understand we are mistaken, we reinterpret the sentence according to the whole context. It tells us everything in a more correct way because we have already stored two meanings of the word’bank’. One is related tos ide of river and the other is related to the institution for money. Apparently, this is the implication of our semantic knowledge.
We sometimes use indirect requests. The reason of using indirect requests is that we know certain rules about the language use in social settings. When we want a peson to do something, we behave more polite in order that this person can not misunderstand us therefore we also soften our words thanks to requests. For example; Can you give me your book?
In this sentence, we don’t ask to him/her the ability to give the book.We want him/her to give her/his book. We don’t say ‘give me your book’ because we know how to behave in a social environment. This sentence is related to our pragmatic knowledge ana also this shows us the relationship between the language and social behaviour. I mean psycholinguistics cooperates with the sociolinguistic.
Another field that psycholinguistics cooperates with is Neurolinguistic. This explains the relationship between language ana the brain. We understand this looking at the language disorders.
Aphasia is a language disorder due to the brain damage. One type of aphasia is Broca’s Aphasia. Broca’s area is involved in the production of speech therefore,in this type, people have difficulties in producing speech. Second type is Wernicke’s aphasia. This area is involved in the comprehension of speech. For this reason, in this type, people have difficulties in semantics. The semantic relationships between the words are seriously disrupted but phonological knowledge and syntactic knowledge are normal. The last type is conduction aphasia. This is related to the arcuate fasciculus. In this type, people mispronounce words but do not have articulation problems.
Language in Children
Another question that psycholinguistics tries to answer is language acqusition. For starters, the child might know some of the rules of language to use words appropriately. If the word were meant as a request, the child will probably become more insistent whereas if the word were meant as a comment, the child’s behaviour should end with mother’s acknowledgement of the object. Thus, the child may have learned certain pragmatic rules to guide her choice of words. Children know more than they say. They Express themselves with two words at a time by eliminating function words.They have intuitive understanding of grammatical knowledge and parents simplify their speech to children and teach specific words.
Psychological mechanisms are involved in using language. These mechanisms provide basis for an integrated understanding of language use. Language processing is a product of linguistic principles ana psychological mechanisms. Comprehending ana producing language are performed within the limitations of our information-processing system. People have some storages for processing their iformation. The first storage is Working Memory.
Working Memory: This the temporary storage of the information being processed of the cognitive tasks. This memory holds information for a short period of time. It has fixed capacity. It is limited in size. It is used to organize words into constituents. We remember sentence structures by chunking.
The Baddeley Hitch Model
This model of working memory has three components.These are the central executive, the visuospatial sketchpad,the phonological loop. Phonological loop contains phonological represantations for a period of time. Visuospatial system allows us to form visual images. Central executive systems determines what tasks the slave system realizes it is administrative because human mind is limited. For example; we don’t drink water while playing football.
Long Term Memory: It is known as permanent memory. It is a storage of our knowledge of the world. This includes general knowlege. This memory has two types.
Semantic Memory: This includes our organized knowledge of words, concepts,synbols.That is to say; it includes our general knowledge such as grammar and social knowledge. For example; That we know when the independent war became is related to the semantis memory.
Episodic Memory: This memory holds knowlege and experience. We use it to keep a record of our personal experiences. It varies from person to person. For example; what we were doing when we learned when Atatürk died is related to the episodic memory.
Serial and Parallel Processes
Serial Processing takes place one at a time while parallel processing takes place two or more simultaneously. Serial model is processed stage by stage. It occurs without overlapping. It processes from simple to complex. For example, the word ‘MFN’. In this word, the rest of the letter ‘E’ is obscured When we look at this word, we can identify all letters and then try to understand the whole word.Then we look at the meaning of the word within sentence.
Parallel model occurs at the same time. For example; the word ‘MFN’ . When we look at the word, if we understand it as men, this means rhat we know its letters, its meaning and its usage in the sentence.
Top-down and Bottom-up Processing.
Bottom up processing proceeds from the lowest level to the highest level of processing. In this processing, lower levels don’t influence from higher levels.It proceeds from specific to general. Firstly, we identify phonemes then we use these to retrieve the lexical entries of the words from our memory to the next level. At the last level, we are linking the meaning of a given sentence.
Topdown Processing proceeds from general to specific.Some information of the higher levels may influnce processing at the lower levels. For example, Can you open the door?. A sentence context may influence the identification of the words within that sentence.
Automatic and Controlled Processes
Automatic processes don’t require extensive capacity.These tasks don’t require substantial resources.They are unintentional, unconscious and fast.These become automatic by frequency,memorization and repeating many times.
These are related to complex tasks. They draw substantial resources from this limited pool of resources.That is to say, developing a phrase structure for a sentence is a more controlled process because working memory has fixed capacity.
Modularity refers to the independence of the different linguistic subsystems within the grammer. Here, there is a view that there are’t specific modules for learning a language in the brain. It is acquired by everybody. I mean to figure out things and comprehend a sentence there is not a specialized ability related to language. Language is viewed as common sense.
Firstly, when we hear a sentence, sounds are first stored very briefly in the auditory sensory store. We recognize these speech sounds and I mean we firstly encode and store in a memory we have mentioned.Then this word or sentence is sent to Wernicke’s area. In this area language is comprehended according to some processes such as topdown, automatic.Then it is transferred via the fasciculus to Broca’s area. Here, preparations are made to produce it. A signal is sent to the motor cortex and thus it is physically articulated.