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THE SCOPE OF PSYCHOLINGUISTICS STUDIES and THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PSYCHOLINGUISTICS FOR LANGUAGE TEACHING AND LEARNING The Scope

of Psycholinguistics Studies Psycholinguistics is a branch of study which combines the disciplines of psychology and linguistics. It is concerned with the relationship between the human mind and the language as it examines the processes that occur in brain while producing and perceiving both written and spoken discourse. What is more, it is interested in the ways of storing lexical items and syntactic rules in mind, as well as the processes of memory involved in perception and interpretation of texts. Also, the processes of speaking and listening are analyzed, along with language acquisition and language disorders. Generally, Psycholinguistics, covers three main points (Clark & Clark, 1977; Tanenhaus, 1989): 1. Comprehension: How people understand spoken and written language a. Imitation Imitation in language acquisition occurs when children imitate language patterns and vocabulary of those significant to them. b. Conditioning B.FSkinner proposed mechanisms of conditioning or habituation to the child's speech is heard and to be associated with objects or events that occur. Therefore the initial vocabulary is owned by the child is a noun. c. Social cognition Children gain an understanding of words (semantics) because he understood the purpose of one's cognition to produce a phoneme through a mechanism of joint attention. 2. Speech production: How people produce language Speech production is the process by which spoken words are selected to be produced, have their phonetics formulated and then finally are articulated by the motor system in the vocal apparatus. Speech production can be spontaneous such as when a person creates the words of a conversation, reaction such as when they name a picture or read aloud a written word, or a vocal imitation such as in speech repetition. 3. Language Acquisition: How people learn language Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive and comprehend language, as well as to produce and use words to communicate.

The Significance of Psycholinguistics for Language Teaching and Learning Learning the language is so that students should not only master the language as a

mere stand-alone systems, to arrive at what is called the level of mastery of language skills to manipulate it. Communication training should be given as early as possible, if necessary in conjunction with the exercise of language to make a correct sentence Psycholinguistics is the detailed study of the psychology of language. It helps to study the psychological and neurobiological factors That make it possible to assimilate and apply the languages we identify with. Learning a language takes the cooperation of various parties to realize a concrete outcome that may be far less the consideration of psycholinguistics as a science that teaches how to use the language in actual communication. Psycholinguistics as a field of science that focuses on the application of the actual language and communication should be realized. Obviously with the support of various parties, because in learning a foreign language should be given the assumption that learning a foreign language is easy. And we have to do is to apply various methods and approaches that allow students to easily understand it. One that we can not deny that language is a form of habit.

Resources http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_acquisition http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_production http://hendrawisesa.multiply.com/journal/item/2?&show_interstitial=1&u= %2Fjournal%2Fitem

Language Acquisition & Creative Interaction:


important concepts in the study of psycholinguistics
Many people don't realise that the study of psycholinguistics is involved primarily with the complex process of language acquisition. Reading on developments within this field have given me the possibility to relate my own experiences with language learning and teaching to the cognitive processes that have taken place both in my own cognitive awareness as well as that of my students. Most importantly, it has been made clear to me that language learning is indeed more than simply the 'teaching' of certain grammatical structures to a passive student, but is a complex, interactive process. Whether it be a child learning his/her mother tongue or an older learner who is attempting to take on a second or third language, more complex processes are involved than simply the memorising of phrases or facts. All language learners are involved with a complex cognitive process over which students and teachers only have partial control. A language student has to work in a most unique way with all the input he/she is given to construct 'meaning', and this involves a remarkable interactive process which combines innate cognitive abilities and an individual method for relating to the world, which for young children results in language being learnt in an incredibly short time period. As teachers of language, we have to be aware of this contrasting theoretical approaches to language acquisition, although it is hard to avoid being bombarded with an array of different theoretical approaches which attempt to encompass this remarkable and uniquely human talent. These perspectives extend from the more traditional 'behaviouristic' school, epitomised by the work of Skinner in his famous volume Verbal Behaviour, to innatist approaches such as that of Chomsky. The behaviouristic approach involves an attitude to learning, language learning in particular, which is seen to be based on a type of 'Pavlov's dog' principle in which it is considered that human behaviour is taught simply by the encouraging of positive and 'correct' verbal structures and the disencouraging of undesirable utterances, entirely related to a context-based situation. The innatist approach, reacting against the behaviourism of Skinner, attempts to take the emphasis off 'context' based learning and place it on 'cognition', where children are considered to be born with a complete apparatus for learning language and in which the context is actually considered 'fragmentary' and therefore less important. Both of these developments have been important influencing factors within the school of psycholinguistics, and the dual approaches will have further significance in this discussion. the importance of these cognitive approaches to language acquisition can be sensed in Miller's definition (1970) which states that "psycholinguistics does not deal with social practices determined arbitrarily either by caprice or intelligent design, but with practices that grow organically out of the biological nature of man and the linguistic capacities of human infants." Despite their relevance to the field, both

approaches are now considered extreme points in an argument which is still in its process of development. For my own part, I am inclined to place the emphasis on a position somewhere between the two extremes. Context is obviously an important element in learning a second language, as has been made clear in the last couple of years through the adopting of Dutch and German as second and third languages respectively. However, the realisation that one doesn't simply learn by continually repeating the 'correct' structure, that some other agenda is taking place beyond the control of the learner, has been made clear to me as well, both by my own apparent improvement in areas that I had never 'consciously' worked on and the clear improvement of my own students through a combination of interaction with context and the gradual acquisition of 'taught' grammatical structures into everyday conversation without apparent practice. Language learning has become a unique and fascinating experience, and in this paper I will be briefly discussing how the teaching process is not one of 'learning', but of 'acquisition' that involves interaction and unconscious creativity on behalf of the student.[1] The acquisition of language, then, is involved not purely with cognitive structures or conformity to a social context, but a dynamic interaction between context and cognition, which acts to mould the linguistic code learnt by the 'student'. For me, the readings have been a confirmation of facts which I had already suspected as a student and teacher of language. In many ways, this has acted to finely-tune the knowledge. Firstly, I was aware that the behaviouristic approach was extremely simplistic in its inability to explain the universal patterns followed by children as they learn language, suggesting the existence of natural cognitivelybased language acquisition structures within the subconscious of every human being. Lindfors provide us with a list of reasons to dismiss the behaviouristic approach: "It is unable to account for (1) the species uniformity of language acquisition, (2) the species specificity of language acquisition, (3) the independence of language development from reinforcement, (4) children's inferring of deep-level structure from an exposure to surface structure, (5) the relatively short period of time, and (6) the early stage in children's lives, during which they acquire so much of a complex linguistic system." (Lindfors, 1987, pg. 104) As a result of these inadequacies in the behaviourist view, another view of language acquisition gained ground, known as the "innatist" approach, generally recognized as being fathered by Chomsky. Through the readings, it has been made clear that one must be cautious before putting too much emphasis on 'structure' at the cost of context. Although a child may be born with certain cognitive abilities which allow him/her to learn language, the learning is only possible if the child can interact with context; although even Chomsky recognised that language acquisition was involved in fishing these universal structures from 'fragmentary' context-based interactions. The behaviouristic approach as well as Chomsky's extreme innatist approach fall short when the learning process is examined closely. Language learning is never simply repetition or imitation of 'correct' language utterances or even the 'fishing out' of the correct language structures from the sound world surrounding the child. The process is in every sense of the word an 'interactive' one, in which the child attempts to find meaning in the sounds and events that occur in his/her environment. Lindfors

informs us that the observation of children learning language in natural settings suggests that language learning is a process of "active figuring-out" of how language works. Slobin, quoted in Lindfors (1987) questions also the structuralist approach adopted by Chomsky: "It seems to me that the child is born not with a set of linguistic categories but with some sort of process mechanism-a set of procedures and inference rules, if you willthat he uses to process linguistic data. These mechanisms are such that, applying them to the input data, the child ends up with something which is a member of the class of human language. The linguistic universals, then, are the result of an innate cognitive competence rather than the contentof such a competence." (Slobin, 1966, quoted in Lindfors, 1987, pg. 107) This definition provides us with a clear image of a 'creative' approach to language acquisition, which can be related to the Lindfors' own views in this regard. Her work has demonstrated to me how important the child is in constructing his/her own language system. According to her, some developmental psychologists, considering children's language development from the larger perspective of overall cognitive development, have "located children's ability to figure out language within a larger, more general ability to 'make sense' of things, and above all make sense of what people do, which of course includes what people say." (Donaldson, 1979, quoted in Lindfors, 1987, pg. 107). The language learning process, therefore, is not purely verbal, but is involved with action, events, emotions and sounds before words come onto the scene. It is very much involved with a growing cognitive awareness of things and beings, and is therefore involved with more simply than an 'interaction' with words, but an 'interaction' with the world and a growing awareness of the child's place in that world: "the child learning language is actively engaged in a social world of language in use." (Lindfors, 1987, Ch. 5). Children learning language are in a creative dynamic situation in which they have to learn to construct the world by providing it with labels, as well as finding ways to perform certain functions. The readings have succeeded in demonstrating to me the fascinating nature of this discussion, as well as its extreme complexity. I am sure, both through my own experience in language learning and language teaching, that the study of psycholinguistics will have an impact on my approach to second language teaching. Although we seem primarily involved with the child learning a mother-tongue, I have been able to notice comparisons with my own experience as teacher and student. This will certainly increase my awareness in relation to the cognitive processes that go on within the minds of all language students. We are all in an 'active' way trying to find ways to understand the world, and as language is one of the primary ways for us to express this understanding, the learning of language will always play an important role. We can only hope that research will continue in this fascinating field.

References
Chomsky, N. (1983). Rules and Representation. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Donaldson, M. (1979). Children's Minds. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Lindfors, J. (1987) children's Language and Learning. Boston: Prentice-Hall. Miller, G. A. (1970). The psycholinguistics. In The Psychology of communication: Seven Essays. (pp. 242-260). Harmondsworth: Penguin. Skinner, B. F. (1957) Verbal Behaviour . Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Slobin, D. I. "Comments on 'developmental Psycholinguistics'." in The Genesis of Language: A Psycholinguistic Approach,Ed. F. Smith and G. Miller. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.

[1] This approach to language teaching has also implications for the acquisition of other cultural elements.

Through teaching and learning music and dance, I have been surprised to notice interesting comparisons between the acquisition of both these areas and language acquisition. Dance and music seems to be 'acquired' by students even without their conscious knowledge: by emerging themselves in the context, cognitive processes are stimulated and the student acquires the structures as a natural part of his/her cognitive make-up. This is certainly food for thought.

A Psycholinguistic Teaching Approach


(ABORDAGEM PSICOLINGUSTICA PARA AULAS PARTICULARES)

Ricardo Schtz
This approach is inspired by Stephen Krashen's Natural Approach and acquisition theory and is applicable ideally to small groups and private tutoring in non English speaking countries. We have been using it with a great rate of success at our ESL school in Brazil. We do not follow any specific plan or course of lessons and books, but promote language and culture exchange in communicative activities. As language is a result of human interaction, our school becomes a bilingual living and learning center with small groups led by a native in the target culture. The instructor functions as a language counselor and facilitator. We respect each instructor's style and rely on their ability to build relationships within the group and create a natural need for communication. We also offer language learning through the study of grammar as a complement, but the emphasis is on language acquisition through communication, in which the role of the native speaker is essential. THE PSYCHOLINGUISTIC APPROACH: The ability to carry out creative and effective communication is the main goal of all learners. Proficiency does not depend on linguistic knowledge. Language knowledge is secondary when compared to the functional ability of understanding and speaking, and reading and writing as a result. Therefore, while a structured syllabus can provide some basic language knowledge, it is only through the creative effort to communicate that complete communicative competence is acquired. The full process, from passive listening to understanding and from active thinking to speaking, needs to be thoroughly exercised. This can be achieved only through real human interaction. O processo completo de ouvir e entender, e de pensar e expressar estes pensamentos tem que ser exercitado continuamente. Isto s possvel atravs do uso da lngua em situaes reais de convvio e autntico relacionamento humano. In other words, nobody fully acquires language ability with only books, tapes, VCRs, CD-ROMs or on-line exercises. Although such materials are helpful when designed according to contrastive linguistics, a brain needs another brain to interact with. Like Stephen Krashen, I also believe in language acquisition rather than language learning as an effective way. But an enlightened combination of methods can still provide a good language teaching design. For this reason I believe that natural acquisition through real-life communicative experience can be complemented with audiolingual exercises and even with grammar study. Our unique teaching materials based on contrastive analysis play here an important role. Whenever possible, the student should have a living experience in a country that represents well the target language and culture for example: the United States, Canada or England for English. Along with the traveling and the living experience, and especially when this is not possible, I also support an approach like Charles Curran's CLL (Communicative Language Learning). Curran believes that psychological counseling and foreign language tutoring are closely related. He advocates a unified concept of man and says that physical, intellectual, psychological and emotional factors can all influence language acquisition. Affection and an intimate relationship between the instructor and the learner, with both on the same level, provide the necessary framework. The instructor plays a non-authoritarian and non-directive role and activities are student-centered. The focus shifts from grammar and sentence formation to a deep sense of personal communication. When language is used an instrument to satisfy a strong desire to communicate, results can be impressive. Taking into consideration the predominant characteristic of the Brazilian people open, communicative, and good at improvising I support a psychological-communicative approach as conducive to optimal language acquisition. Levando-se em considerao a caracterstica predominante do brasileiro, aberto, comunicativo, criativo e talentoso na improvisao, defendemos com maior convico ainda uma abordagem psicolgico-comunicativa para melhor explorar esse talento. In this psycholinguistic approach, the counselor-teacher needs to try to build a personal relationship with the learner. The more personal the relationship, the more the target language will be learned. Of course, this psychological involvement depends greatly on the student's personality. Therefore, the

teacher must be constantly alert and able to recognize the communicative moments and opportunities and to explore them when they arise. O instrutor deve estar constantemente alerta para saber reconhecer e aproveitar os momentos de abertura do aluno. The key element of a psycholinguistic approach is the personal and intimate contact between learner and counselor. The learner's interests are explored and his own ideas are used as teaching materials. As in psychoanalysis, learner and counselor immerse in each other's mind. Instead of texts or tapes the thoughts of the learner, even the ones of neurotic origin, are discussed and brought to light in clear and appropriate language. The goal is to increase the emotional load of the conversation, making the sessions more appealing and engaging. Resorting to the same resources used in psychoanalysis, the counselor-instructor plays the role of confidant and brings the conversation (always in the target language) to the center of the learner's interest. The instructor adapts himself to the learner. If the learner is introverted, the instructor takes a leading role talking about himself, about his experience with the foreign culture, his difficulties and his weaknesses, opening his own heart, thus improving the mutual trust and creating an atmosphere for the learner to get ready. If the learner is extroverted, the instructor understands with empathy the learner's points of view encouraging him to express himself confidently and accurately. The instructor helps the learner to reaffirm his opinions giving the precise language, just a little beyond the learner's capability (Krashen's comprehensible input). The learner will then see his convictions in convincing language, with good power of communication. Em vez de livros e fitas, os prprios pensamentos do aluno-paciente, mesmo os mais ntimos e at os de fundo neurtico, so discutidos e traduzidos em linguagem correta, convincente e elegante. We do not emphasize error correction but communicative ability with beginners because psychological obstacles must be overcome before linguistic accuracy can be attained. Self-confidence and independence are the first steps. Still, linguistic forms like pronunciation and sentence patterns are not completely overlooked. These are discussed whenever necessary to address the learner's specific deviations. Again, the instructor needs to adjust his interventions to the learner. Introverts normally lack self-confidence and therefore should be less frequently interrupted and corrected than extroverts. No enfatizamos a correo dos erros de alunos iniciantes porque os obstculos de natureza psicolgica devem ser vencidos antes que o aluno possa alcanar preciso gramatical. Alunos introvertidos normalmente carecem de autoconfiana e no devem ser interrompidos e corrigidos com a mesma freqncia que extrovertidos. This communicative-psychological approach we recommend is ideal for intermediate and advanced students and requires a skillful instructor. If not thoroughly bilingual, the person should be a native speaker of the target language with some command of the learners' native language. Besides the instructor's qualification the language therapy groups must be very small and homogeneous, with affinity between group members being very important.