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Gesture, Cognition and Culture. T his course considers the relationship between thought, language and gesture including its role in language acquisition and in signed languages.

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Linguistic Analysis of Literature. Literary texts provide unique material for linguists: good authors manage to use everyday grammatical forms in exceptional ways. In this course, students will read scholarly linguistic works on literary analysis, and also analyze literary texts using the tools they acquire.


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Language and Thought. This seminar explores the relation of language and thought. Is language uniquely human, and if so, what does this reveal about the human mind? Does the particular language you speak affect the way you think, or do human languages reflect a universal conceptual repertoire? Advanced Cognitive Linguistics.


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  • This will be an advanced course in cognitive linguistics. Among the topics covered will be cognitive bases for aspects of grammatical structure, cognitive constraints on language change and grammaticalization, and motivations for linguistic universals i. Graduate-level introduction to psycholinguistics; provides an overview of key questions and research findings in psycholinguistics.

    Linguistic glossary

    Psycholinguistics focuses on the mechanisms underlying human language production and comprehension. Central to psycholinguistics is the formulation of conceptual and computational models of those mechanisms. Language, Cognition and Communication.

    Language, Computation and Cognition. Seminar or special lecture course. Topics in Linguistic Theory: Psycholinguistics. Seminars or special lecture courses. A B r i d g e b e t w e e n t w o A p p r o a c h e s 14 The way memory operates has been described according to three major theoretical models: Modal Model, Working Memory Model and Deep and Surface Processing. There is also the neural network model, which tries to encompass memory, knowledge acquisition and cognition as a whole. Information, according to them, is processed and stored as follows: external data goes into the sensory stores before entering the STM store.

    Selected information is transferred from the sensory memory stores to STM. Residual information is ignored and lost.

    STM is a store of limited capacity and duration. It has a capacity of approximately 5 to 9 bits of information. Some information may be chunked in larger bits, however, and therefore more can be stored and manipulated.

    Cognitive and Communicative Approaches to Linguistic Analysis

    The life of material in STM can be prolonged briefly by repetition rehearsal. If the information is encoded related to prior knowledge and placed in a schema it can be transferred to LTM stores. It is a store of enormous capacity and indefinite duration. Information held in LTM is encoded in schemata. The strength of a particular memory will depend upon the number of associations with similar schemata and the intensity of the memory as determined by vividness and emotional impact. If material has been weakly encoded or infrequently recalled, it may be in LTM but inaccessible.

    The process of cueing enables memories to be retrieved from LTM.

    The Communicative Approach Basics

    Working Memory Model Baddeley and Hitch proposed this more dynamic model of memory, which was further developed by Baddeley , The working memory model consists of three parts: the central executive, the phonological loop and the visuospatial scratchpad The central executive controls what enters into STM and decides what processes will be undertaken transfer to LTM, for example. The central executive also controls the other two components — the phonological or articulatory loop and the visuospatial scratchpad.

    Although under the overall control of the central executive, these two also have their own resources of attention and processing. The phonological or articulatory loop is an auditory memory store that holds a limited amount of acoustic data for a brief period of a few seconds by means of rehearsal.

    Similarly, the visual-spatial scratchpad is a short-term store in which visual images can be examined and manipulated for example, by rotation. In terms of learning, this model suggests that it is important for learners to look back on what they have already done. In this way, associations can be made between new material arriving bottom-up from the environment and top-down material already stored in memory. One explanation is that previous material has not yet become organized and encoded in memory so the new material has no suitable synaptic connections available to it.

    Consistent work to embed previous learning will help new learning. A B r i d g e b e t w e e n t w o A p p r o a c h e s 16 Deep and Surface Processing Model It is less interested in interacting subsystems than in the depth of information-processing and its implications for memory and recall. The model proposes that incoming information is processed at different levels. The strength of encoding will determine the duration of the memory. Mere repetition, for example, leads to shallow encoding resulting in short-lived memory. Deep encoding involves the generation of connections to previous knowledge and existing schemata and results in more permanent memories.

    Although this is a plausible hypothesis, there is no clear description of the processes that enable shallow encoding to lay down short-term memories and deep encoding to lay down long-term memory. The definitions appear to be circular. Nevertheless, the notion of deep and surface processing has influenced areas of learning theory, and underpins the idea of deep and surface learning11, which asserts that deep learners try to understand material by linking it to already known concepts and that surface learners simply remember facts.

    Educational implications of Cognitivism Cognitivists maintain that learning involves developing effective ways of building schemata and processing information. Knowing how learners process information should be helpful in designing appropriate learning experiences. For cognitivists, the teacher is in control of the learning, although they also hold that people learn best when encouraged to discover information pertinent to their own needs. Gardner thinks of several entry points to engage the attention of different types of learners. Attention is linked to learner motivation.

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    Short-term memory is another key point that teacher should bear in mind. As encoding is the process of organizing material and making it meaningful to be placed in long-term memory. A B r i d g e b e t w e e n t w o A p p r o a c h e s 20 Constructivism The constructivist perspective sees learners as constructors of meaning. Constructivism is a natural progression from cognitivism since both are interested in cognitive processes; but whereas cognitivism focuses on how information is processed, constructivism focuses on what people do with information to develop knowledge.

    Constructivism holds that people actively build knowledge and understanding by synthesizing the knowledge they already possess with new information. The difference between these two approaches in the following example: reading is an activity which requires the cognitive processes of perception and recognition of the shapes of letters, as well as the recall of their sounds from memory.

    But if a book is to be understood, the reader must construct an understanding of the meaning of the text and what it means to the reader. Rather than one unified theory, constructivism is a broad group of theories that explains knowledge acquisition and learning. It has links to other fields including social science, philosophy, politics and history, each of which recognizes that learners interpret and make their own sense of experience and the information they receive. The different types of constructivist thinking are generally classified according to their main emphases.

    The most relevant categories of constructivism that are pertinent to learning and education are trivial constructivism, social constructivism and critical constructivism. It indicates the common-sense view that knowledge is not acquired through a process of transmission from an external source to an individual; rather, people actively construct knowledge in an effort to make sense of the world.

    According to trivial constructivism, people construct mental models of the way things are. When new information is received, the new mental constructs have to be accommodated within previously existing constructs. The new knowledge is adapted rather than adopted. A particularly important process occurs when new constructs conflict with old.

    Learners are likely to become puzzled, causing them to reconsider and reconfigure mental constructs. This iterative and active process leads to richer understanding and improved learning.

    Cognitive Linguistic Applications to Second Language Teaching: From Theory to Practice

    This has significant implications for the learning and teaching process because teachers must be aware that learners bring different mental frameworks to that process. It is important to sound a note of caution here. Constructivism is underpinned by the belief that we and our mental constructs are more alike than unlike.

    The thinkers most often associated with trivial constructivism are Jean Piaget and Jerome Bruner. Piaget Jean Piaget — , pioneer and parent of constructivist thought.