Accessibility statement

Language & the Mind - LAN00050C

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Nino Grillo
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

This module provides an introduction to the study of language as a product of the mind. The module introduces fundamental concepts in cognitive science through the lens of experimental work on language comprehension and production at different levels of representation, from sound to meaning. This hands-on approach to experimental work in psycholinguistics will serve to introduce different theories of language processing and provide foundational concepts allowing students to scaffold later learning into a broader conceptual structure.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

Language provides a unique window into the human mind. By referring to a variety of experimental methods and results we aim to model the mental processes that allow us to convert a continuous stream of sound waves into meaning, breaking it down into smaller parts (phonemes, words) which are then grouped together in more complex representations (phrases, sentences) and meanings.

Clarifying the relation between mind and language will ground your understanding of linguistic theory in the broader context of cognitive science. This will help you understand how linguists think and why they ask certain questions (why do syntacticians focus on Verbs, Nouns and structure? What are the broader questions around articulatory phonetics? Why do phonologists talk about phonemes and syllables?). Ultimately, the module aims to help you make sense of the various topics introduced in the other foundational modules.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module the student should be able to:

  • identify and explain different methods in psycholinguistic research
  • describe the predictions of competing approaches to experimental results covered in class and provide arguments for their relative success
  • describe the relevance and implications of major results in the areas of psycholinguistics covered

Module content

The module will provide a broad introduction to the study of language as a cognitive science. It will focus on different levels of representation and processing (speech, words, sentences, discourse) and summarise relevant evidence from the experimental literature (including illusions, production errors, slips of the tongue/ear, comprehension errors, Reaction Times and eye movements).

The module will cover a selection of the following areas:

• Speech and phonological processing
• Lexical access
• Morphological processing
• Syntactic processing
• Semantic processing
• Discourse processing
• Prosodic processing
• Experimental methods in psycholinguistics


Task Length % of module mark
Short answers/multiple choice
N/A 35
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Language & the Mind
3 hours 60
Research participation
N/A 5

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

• Weekly formative exercises (group level feedback)
• Research participation (may be completed at any time during the semester)


Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Reassessment: Language & the Mind
3 hours 100

Module feedback

• Weekly group level feedback on formative exercises will be provided at the seminar
• Feedback on research participation will be provided in class in Week 11
• Feedback for the marked formative assessment will be provided in Week 7
• Feedback for summative assignment will be provided in Week 11
• Feedback for final exam will be provided 25 working days after the exam

Indicative reading

Fernández, E. M., & Cairns, H. S. (2010). Fundamentals of psycholinguistics. John Wiley & Sons.

Traxler, M. J. (2011). Introduction to psycholinguistics: Understanding language science.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.