Psycholinguistics 130, Fall 2006 Harvard University

Lecturer: Dr. Peggy Li Email: pegs@wjh.harvard.edu Office: Boylston Hall 303 Office Hours: Mondays 10-12 and by appointment TF: Dr. Mathieu Le Corre Email: lecorre@wjh.harvard.edu Office: Shannon Hall 214 Office Hours: TBA TF: Elena Zinchenko Email: elena.zinchenko@gmail.com Office: Office Hours: TBA

Course Descriptions
The capacity for language sets the human mind apart from all other minds, both natural and artificial, and so contributes critically to making us who we are. In this course, we ask several fundamental questions about the psychology of language: How do we understand and produce it, seemingly without effort? How do children acquire it so quickly and so accurately? What is the relationship between language and thought? Why did language evolve? And to what extent is the capacity for language special, and to what extent is it the product of general cognitive machinery?

Aims of the Course
• • • To introduce you to some of the central questions in the psycholinguistics To introduce you to some of the ways in which researchers go about answering those questions. To increase your comfort and proficiency with reading and discussing research in this area.

Readings
Readings are on reserve at the Lamont library and can be downloaded through links from the course website. Please be sure to check the syllabus for reading assignments. Recommended Textbook: D.W. Carroll, Psychology of Language (4th edition)

Grading
• • • Participation: 30% Mid-term exam: 30% -- November 2nd Final exam: 40% (Cumulative Content)

Participation
Participation grade will be determined by your contribution to discussions in class and in sections as well as postings on the course website.

Exams
The exams will ask you to synthesize material from the readings and from our discussions. You will not be required to know the minutiae of each experiment we consider, but rather to understand the Big Picture. You should be prepared to explain the importance the questions that we explore; to understand how these questions have been (or could be) answered; to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence which bears on those questions; and to apply your knowledge to new questions. Both exams will be open-book. In order to help you study: • Sample exam questions will be posted on the course website. • One week prior to the midterm and the last day of class, you will be asked to submit exam questions which I will try to incorporate into the actual exam. To do so, you are to team up in groups of 3-4 students, list 5 major points covered in the course, and submit 5 short essay questions. You will be graded on the relevance and the quality of the questions you submit. For the midterm, they will count for 1/3 of your final midterm grade. For the final, they will count for 1/4 of your final exam grade.

Extra Credit
Extra credit will be offered to bump borderline grades up one notch (e.g., B+ to A-; C- to C). You may choose from one of two options. For one option, you will need to participate in a psycholinguistic experiment (check out http://studypool.wjh.harvard.edu for studies). Then to receive credit, write a short paper (6 double spaced pages) on what the study is testing, your predictions of the results, and your experience as the participant. Alternatively, you could instead write a paper following up on a topic covered in the class (10 double spaced pages). Incoherent papers will not count for extra credit.

Schedule
(subject to change)
Date September 19 September 21 September 26 September 28 October 3 October 5 October 10 October 12 October 17 October 19 October 24 October 26 October 31 November 2 November 7 November 9 November 14 November 16 November 21 November 28 November 30 December 5 December 7 December 12 December 14 December 19 Preliminaries Language design Language and the brain Bioprogram for language learning Bioprogram for language learning Speech Perception Speech Perception Lexical access Lexical access How we understand sentences How we understand sentences How we understand sentences How we speak Midterm How we speak Meaning Meaning Pragmatics & Language in Use Pragmatics & Language in Use Language Acquisition Language Acquisition Bilingualism Bilingualism Other animals and Language Evolution of language Language and thought Carroll (2004) Chapter 13 pp. 361-374 Seyfarth & Cheney (1992) Pullum (1991); Anna Shusterman (Guest Lecturer) MITEC: Pragmatics, Presuppositions, Implicatures Clark (1992) Introduction Fisher & Gleitman (2002) Gleitman et al. (2005) TBA: Mathieu Le Corre (Guest Lecturer) Bock (1995) Harley (1995) Chapter 6 Ferreira & Clifton (1998), Trueswell, Tanenhaus, & Garnsey (1994) MacDonald et al. (1994) Bock (1995) Topic Readings Carroll (2004) Chapter 1 Carroll (2004) Chapter 2 Carroll (2004) Chapter 13 pp. 338-361 Gleitman & Newport (1995) MITEC: Critical Period in Language Development Miller (1990) Werker (1995) Carroll (2004) Chapter 4

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