Advanced Topics in Psycholinguistics - LAN00067H

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Nino Grillo
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20
    • See module specification for other years: 2017-18

Module summary

This module focuses on the relation between the grammar and the parser and between linguistic theory and psycholinguistics. This module builds on the Autumn term module Psycholinguistics (LAN00027H) and aims to support independent research in experimental psycholinguistics, with a focus on sentence processing by encouraging discussion with staff and peers engaged in related research.

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2019-20 to Summer Term 2019-20

Module aims

This module builds on Psycholinguistics (LAN00027H) and aims to support independent research in experimental psycholinguistics, with a focus on sentence processing by encouraging discussion with staff and peers engaged in related research.

Besides introducing current approaches to the relation between the grammar and the parser, the course provides specific examples of how linguistic analysis can shape our understanding of cognitive mechanisms (e.g. memory).

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should:

  • become aware of the interaction of cognitive general and language specific constraints in the domain of sentence processing;
  • evaluate experimental psycholinguistics literature from both the point of view of empirical coverage and that of theoretical coherence and formal elegance;
  • connect linguistic theory to experimental predictions;
  • evaluate relevance of experimental results for specific theoretical positions;
  • plan, design and carry out a basic research project in experimental psycholinguistics.

Module content

The course will focus on sentence processing, providing examples of the contribution of sophisticated linguistic theory to the understanding of memory mechanisms and apparent cross-linguistic and cross-population variation in processing. Issues at the interface of syntax with memory, pragmatics and prosody will be discussed, together with issues in language acquisition and impairment (the course might not cover each of these topics every year). Discussion of specific issues in experimental psycholinguistics will be carried on alternating traditional lectures with seminar-style teaching.

Topics will include:

  • sentence comprehension
  • sentence production
  • syntactic processing and memory mechanisms
  • processing of filler-gap dependencies

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
5000 Word Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
5000 Word Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Student presentations in the seminars serve as formative work. Oral feedback will be provided during the seminars.

Indicative reading

Indicative key texts:

Fodor, J. D. (1998a). Learning to Parse? Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 27:285–319.

Fodor, J. D. (1998b). Parsing to Learn? Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 27:339–374.

Lewis, S. and Phillips, C. (2015). Aligning grammatical theories and language processing models. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 44(1):27–46.

Yoshida, M., Kazanina, N., Pablos, L., and Sturt, P. (2014). On the origin of islands.

Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 29(7):761–770.

Lewis, R. L., Vasishth, S., and Van Dyke, J. A. (2010). Computational principles of working

memory in sentence comprehension. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10:447–454.



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.