Questions that are about the neurobiological and psychological factors that affect the acquisition, comprehension and utilisation of the language in human beings.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
1answer
43 views

Is the semantic component of a generative grammar especially difficult to incorporate in psycholinguistic proccessing models?

It is often said that it is difficult to match up the structure rules of a grammar with psychologically realistic models of competence. I was wondering if the semantic component was especially ...
1
vote
0answers
39 views

Two tasks in one experiment design (self-paced-reading & grammaticality judgment)

For experiment design experts, I want to know if it's possible to design an experiment on PsychoPy or Open Sesame in which the subject does a self paced reading (with measuring the reading times for ...
1
vote
1answer
96 views

Language transfer for second language learners (French-English)

How does language transfer occur from French to English within native french speakers' mind? Can we observe this phenomenon ?
3
votes
2answers
131 views

Reference for help in identifying the abnormal syntax or use of language in psychotic individuals

I have a job in which I must try to differentiate between persons who are actually psychotic and those who are faking psychosis, and it is often quite difficult. I would like to identify ...
2
votes
0answers
80 views

L1 memories being recalled in my L2

The situation is as follows: I have been studying my L2 for approximately 4 years. I have spent a total of 10 months immersed in the L2 environment. My current stint has been for 5 months and ...
2
votes
0answers
74 views

Psycholinguistic/Sociolinguistic theories of lying and/or deception

That is a very broad question, I understand. I am working in a project where my aim is to detect linguistic features of deception as a person is speaking or writing. Some work has been done for ...
3
votes
1answer
149 views

Is 'It' anaphoric or cataphoric, and what is its antecedent/postcedent?

Question 1a: What does 'It' refer to in the following sentence: It was clearly in the mood to place acknowledgements at the bottom of questions. The context for the above sentence is provided ...
2
votes
2answers
134 views

What is the sociocultural purpose of banning slang in schools?

There was an article in the Guardian recently about a headteacher in the Black Country banning the use of local dialect in school: (http://www.theguardian.com/educa...) He says he's seeing children ...
0
votes
1answer
125 views

The manifestation of creativity in written language

I am working on a project where the aim is to create a dictionary of creativity terms. I am a scholar of social psychology and marketing, and the aim the project is to be able to track ideas and ...
3
votes
2answers
173 views

Methods for meaning extraction

Let someone wants to know what some word (concrete as "chair" or abstract as "happiness") mean. What methods, experimental techniques are there for extracting word's meaning? I found next ways: ...
1
vote
0answers
215 views

There is evidence that domesticated animals (cats or dogs) understand human language?

Some pet owners seem to be able to speak to their cats or dogs. Is there any evidence that animals understand human languages? EDIT: By understand, i mean understanding of spoken language and ...
1
vote
0answers
96 views

What can dialectology contribute to psycho- or neurolinguistics - or the other way around?

Dialectology is the study of geographical varieties of a language. The study of (for example) older dialects of English (such as the dialect spoken in the Northeast of England around Newcastle) and ...
3
votes
1answer
136 views

Body parts and metaphor

Across languages, body parts are used as part of a metaphor, whether it is in an idiom or in a phrasal construction. Do any know of any survey like academic paper that investigates the whys and hows ...
1
vote
0answers
34 views

The informal word a child uses to call his/her mother is the same (or strongly similar) in many languages. Why? [duplicate]

I was rather surprised to learn that the Chinese word for "mommy" is māmā. It never surprised me to hear that this word is similar among Western languages, because of some common origin or borrowing ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is it “easier” to understand a foreign language when reading than to speak it?

I know that the two mentioned abilities are different. I always find it quite straightforward to understand a foreign language when reading. provided I have a good knowledge of its grammar and a large ...
1
vote
0answers
133 views

To what extent do children adapt to a language which is not their mother-tongue?

In following when talking about 'native speaker' I refer to what is considered as 'mother tongue' rather than reaching a level of fluency. For the purpose of this question think of an average person ...
6
votes
1answer
170 views

Does the phrase “thinking in a language” have empirical meaning?

In discussions of language learning, multilingualism, and related topics, I hear references to "thinking in a language." Two questions on this stack exchange list have referenced this, namely "What ...
1
vote
0answers
274 views

How to distinguish multilingualism from polyglotism?

What are defining criteria, and how can we decide whether a person speaking, say, ten languages is a multilingual or a polyglot?
1
vote
2answers
121 views

Do bilinguals and multilingual native speakers make language mistakes?

Suppose a person speaks several languages, occasionally making mistakes in grammar(s), using untypical patterns, clichés and/or calques. Can such a level of language competence be defined as ...
3
votes
1answer
260 views

Does language influence thinking skills or cognition

I have an intuition, and Hypothesis, that the native language we speak is responsible for our cognition and thinking skills. e.g. Hebrew speaking people would have poor spatial ability compared to ...
-1
votes
1answer
356 views

What are the job opportunities in linguistics? [closed]

I like learning new languages so I am curious in getting a degree in linguistics. What kind of jobs are available as a linguist? What are the opportunities available in this field? From what I am ...
8
votes
5answers
205 views

In multilingual dialogues, which factors determine the language the speaker chooses for a given word or phrase?

As is the case in many households, my wife and I are both fluent in two languages to the degree that we speak to each other without a conscious thought as to which language we are using. We often ...
6
votes
1answer
153 views

Why does ambient conversation in the same language confuse me when I recite, but in another language not?

I pray in Hebrew. Many of my prayers have fixed wordings; as such, sometimes (alas) I wind up reciting them without wholly concentrating on what I'm saying. When I'm doing so, I find that concurrent ...
2
votes
1answer
138 views

What kinds of maths to learn for understanding dynamical systems in cognitive linguistics?

A current trend in cognitive science is to view the mind as a dynamical system (e.g., Continuity of Mind by psycholinguist Spivey, in which cognition--including language comprehension and ...
2
votes
0answers
41 views

Is there a term for a mental prototype changing?

Years ago, if I heard the word bird I thought about a sparrow since I live in western Pennsylvania and there are sparrows everywhere. But now, if I hear the word bird I picture a blue, two-dimensional ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Is it possible to become a native speaker of another language for someone that already has a mother tongue?

Are there any studies/researches on fields like neurolinguistics(or any other fields) to allow people (can be via drugs, psycho training..whatever) to become a native speaker of another language? Is ...
5
votes
2answers
177 views

Is the body language and hand movements manifested by a person as they speak part of that person's idiolect?

By this, I mean do a person's body language and hand gestures as they speak manifest in a consistent and observable way? I'm a person who speaks with my hands very much; if I'm not moving my hands ...
5
votes
0answers
327 views

When you think one word, but write another, similar sounding word?

If you are writing or typing and you are thinking of one word, but then type another word made of the same phonemes, what is that called and what are the linguistic and /or psychological phenomena ...
5
votes
1answer
717 views

Hearing your name in a noisy crowd: what is this called and how might it work?

I can't really formulate it any more lucid than as it is in the title, so.... I'm reading a phonetics text now, but I haven't yet got to the chapter on 'speech perception' so maybe I'll come across at ...
0
votes
0answers
154 views

Understanding English deeply like native speakers

As I have noticed, a native speaker can actually judge the essence of person, the way he's feeling, even his personality through his writing or voice. Will it be possible for a non-native English ...
6
votes
4answers
260 views

Can one's native medium of language be written, rather than spoken or signed?

(This is probably a poorly-formed question, but I'm really just trying to find out if there's any research in this area.) Most children pick up a spoken or signed language at an early age, and this ...
3
votes
0answers
536 views

What language has the longest word for 'no' and 'yes'?

I'm asking this because I'm learning Swahili now, for which the word 'yes' translates to 'ndiyo' and 'no' translates to 'hakuna.' It strikes me as strange that a language would have such long words ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

What language, if any, do deaf people think in?

If a person is partially deaf, I think they would be able to acquire the language, and actually I've seen partially deaf people speak in addition to the use of a sign language. I suppose this means ...
13
votes
1answer
821 views

How does alcohol affect the ability to speak a second language?

From my own experience, drinking alcohol has both positive and negative effects to the ability of speaking a second language. On the one hand, it facilitates the process, mainly because one gets more ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

measuring relative importance/social proximity of an addressee based on length of written explanation in letters with multiple addressees

I have a corpus of personal letters in which writers explain a tough decision to multiple addressees, each in its own section/paragraph of the letter (for the most part). I wonder if anybody has ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Have very many studies been done on the difficulties that people have in verbally describing faces and other visual stimuli?

On Scienceblogs.com, we find an article titled When crime-fighting tools go bad: Problems with the face-composite system that documents the difficulty that people have in describing faces. The ...
3
votes
2answers
481 views

Limits on center-embedding in English

Consider the following extremely melodramatic story fragment (the sentences in the story, and its melodramatic character, set up context and motivation for the brain to parse an otherwise ...
7
votes
3answers
259 views

How do linguists deal with losing normal intuition?

Sometimes when I see an example sentence in a linguistics textbook which is supposed to be incorrect or unparseable, I get annoyed because the sentence seems just fine to me. Garden paths aren't the ...
2
votes
1answer
183 views

Do infants deliberately change the words when they omit the sounds and these words are minimal pairs?

While I was studying an infant's transcript, I realized that he deleted the [l] sound in "alma" [alma], a word in Turkish meaning "do not take". When he deleted the sound, the word became [a:ma]. ...
7
votes
2answers
278 views

What are the motivations for which direction syntactic trees are built in (top down or bottom up)?

When I learned x-bar theory, there seemed to be an implicit assumption that trees were built top-down, from IP or CP to the VP and its complement, etc. However, as I am learning more about Minimalism ...
10
votes
1answer
683 views

Why do languages not share a root for “butterfly”?

In the article The Elusive Butterfly. Iconicity in Language (2001), William O. Beeman draws attention to the fact that most languages do not share a root for their word for butterfly. In other words, ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Evidence for age cutoff in foreign accent acquistion

Steven Pinker in "The Language Instinct" claims that there is strong psychological evidence for the existence of a sharp age cutoff for the ability to acquire a flawless foreign accent (I may dig up ...
15
votes
4answers
396 views

Why do rhotics pattern together?

Looking at the IPA, many different types of sounds are given symbols based of of the Latin R,r: approximants, trills, taps/flaps; both coronal and uvular segments. Sometimes, these sounds are ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it possible to change your mother-tongue by thinking in another language?

Once I heard from someone that your mother tongue is the language you talk in your thoughts. I've asked many people to verify the correctness of this proposition and to me, inductively this seems to ...
5
votes
1answer
144 views

Does one's ability to describe an object with words reflect his or her ability to identify the object visually?

Does one's ability to describe an object with words affect his or her ability to identify that object visually? As a follow-up, does one's ability to describe an object with words affect his or her ...
6
votes
4answers
447 views

When and how do children learn to distinguish languages?

At what age range are children expected to be able to distinguish languages? Are there any factors that aid children in learning this skill?
5
votes
2answers
189 views

What's the “state of the art” for methodology in syntactic/semantic experiments

I'm looking for good recent books or articles on experimental methodology in syntax or semantics. Ideally they'd be geared towards working formal linguists who don't know much about psycholinguistics ...
3
votes
2answers
362 views

Is our mental lexicon structured like a tag-cloud system or hierarchical?

Thinking about this discussion on meta i was reasoning about simple self-experiments you can do in psycholinguistics, where you dont need great background knowledge in Cognitive Psychology or ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

What are some examples of recent studies investigating strong linguistic determinism?

One of the most controversial ideas put forth in linguistics is the idea of linguistic determinism. Also known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, it states that people who speak different languages would ...
12
votes
1answer
362 views

Does capitalization of nouns aid reading comprehension?

German is the only widely used language prescribing capitalization of nouns in the written language. I speak English and German fluently myself, but I can read German texts significantly faster than ...