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The Psychology of Language (Spring, 2008)

One of the biggest mysteries of human cognition is our ability to produce and comprehend language. The rapidity and ease with which we normally speak and understand makes it seem easy, but we have only to look at machines, or at people with certain neurological damage, to see evidence of how complex and difficult this feat really is.

This course provides an introduction to theories and emprical research that address fundamental questions in psycholinguistics, including: How do we acquire language? Is language innate or learned? Do animals have it too? How do we ever get from the incredibly noisy signal that is speech to meaning? And when we want to express a meaning, how do we choose which words and structures to produce? How is language represented and processed in the brain?