Recent advances in both technology and in biological understanding mean that we know more about the workings of the brain than ever. The relationship between language and the brain has been a major area of inquiry since the beginning of modern neuroscience, but in the 21st century we finally have reached a point where neurolinguistic methodology has become not only informative to linguists but also practical. This module will explore the current state of knowledge about the neural underpinnings of language, with a focus on language comprehension.
At the end of the module, students will:
This module will be capped at 35.
Students must have successfully completed at least ONE of the following:
In the spring term, there will be a 2-hour lecture every teaching week, except that there will be two lectures in week 9 and none in week 10 (to ensure that all students have enough time to do the open exam). In addition, there will be a 1-hour seminar session every other week (weeks 3, 5, 8 and 9), devoted to formative student work.
In the summer term, there will be a 1-hour lecture in week 1 and a 1-hour seminar in weeks 2-4. These weeks will be spent developing one or two topics in depth, and will form the basis of the final assessment.
The details of the teaching programme are subject to change, but the overall plan is as follows:
|Weeks 2-3||Introduction, Basics of the brain and neuroimaging|
|Weeks 4-5||The processing of linguistic signals (speech and reading)|
|Weeks 7-8||The lexicon and the brain (inc. morphology)|
|Weeks 9 (two lectures)||Syntactic and semantic processing, Overview|
A reading pack will be available via Uniprint, and all required readings will also be placed on the VLE. Slides and handouts will be made avialable for each lecture. Additional optional readings will be made available throughout the teaching terms via the VLE.
There are several different editions of the book listed above. It doesn’t matter which edition you use. The chapter on ‘brain and language’ is useful preliminary reading, whichever edition it is in. An electronic version of this chapter will be made available via the module VLE site.
All modules provide an opportunity to work on general oral/written communication skills (in class and in assessments) and general self management (organising your studies), alongside the specific skills in language or linguistics that the module teaches.
In addition, this module will allow you to particularly develop skills in:
Follow this link to hear how past students use transferable skills from their degree in their current jobs.
About this module
- Module name
Neurolinguistics: Language and the brain
- Course code
- Term(s) taught