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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LING3350 Language Processing

20 creditsClass Size: 24

Module manager: Chris Norton

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Students are expected to have completed both of the following modules, or equivalent:
- MODL1060 Language: Structure and Sound
- LING1100 Language: Meaning and Use
Students who have not completed these modules, but have completed LING2131 Psycholinguistics may also enrol. Students who have not completed MODL1060 Language: Structure and Sound should be prepared to do some additional reading to familiarise themselves with linguistic concepts built on in this module. Chapters 1 to 6 of Genettiā€™s How languages work: An introduction to language and linguistics (Cambridge University Press, 2014) are a good starting point.

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Bridging experimental psychology and linguistics, this module looks at the psycholinguistic and cognitive processes involved in human communication. We examine the ways in which sounds, words and sentences are recognised, comprehended and produced. Theoretical models offer mechanistic accounts of how linguistic knowledge is used in the real-time processing of language, and we examine the data (predominantly from English) that has been used to test these accounts. We look at what happens when communication goes wrong: what can speech errors, tip of the tongue states, misinterpretation of ambiguous utterances, and developmental language disorders tell us about typical linguistic processing and production, and about how the language faculty may be organised in the mind? Students design their own psycholinguistic study as part of an assessed research proposal. Students are expected to have been introduced to linguistics and psycholinguistics on Level 1 or 2 modules in linguistics before enrolling on this module.


The module aims to:
(1) familiarise students with psycholinguistic investigations into the cognitive processing of language, i.e. the mechanisms and types of information that speakers and listeners use to process language
(2) introduce students to the key experimental methodologies used in psycholinguistics, and how quantitative methods are used in linguistic research more widely
(3) allow students to compare the major theoretical accounts underpinning research in language processing
(4) develop students' analytical skills through practical analyses of experimental data and source readings
(5) develop students' independent research skills by creating an original research proposal for an empirical psycholinguistic study

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
(1) understand a broad range of concepts and terminology from psycholinguistics
(2) critically analyse aspects of experimental design and methodology used in psycholinguistic research, to analyse its data, and to select such data to illustrate a point under discussion
(3) show critical awareness of psycholinguistic literature in scientific journals
(4) propose a rigorous and feasible research proposal to investigate an area of language processing


This module focuses on psycholinguistics narrowly defined, examining topics such as visual and spoken word recognition, syntactic processing, and word meaning. The module also examines language production processes and atypical language processing. In exploring these issues, several important questions are addressed, including:
(1) How do we recognise incoming words in the speech stream?
(2) How do we comprehend ambiguous utterances?
(3) Are all possible meanings activated on hearing a word?
(4) How do speakers decide which expressions to use to refer to entities in the world?
(5) What can language disorders reveal about typical language processing?

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students are expected to devote 180 hours of private study time to this module, with the following suggested breakdown:
- Reading preparation and completion of exercises for lectures: (10x4=) 40 hours
- Reading preparation for seminars: (10x3=) 30 hours
- Completion of seminar exercises: (10x3=) 30 hours
- Preparation for assessed research proposal: 48 hours
- Preparation for assessed poster: 32 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress is monitored and supported through exercises in the lecture and seminar sessions, and written feedback on the assessed research proposal is returned before the assessed poster.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Research Proposal2,000-word research proposal60.00
Poster1,000-word poster40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:25:36


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