HS 435 : Language and the Mind


Language, a unique, higher order, human cognitive faculty has become a major concern of the fields of Psychology, Neuro-Biology and Computer science in the last two decades, yielding new areas of inquiry such as Psycholinguistics, Neurolinguistics and Computational Linguistics. This course is an introduction to these sub-fields of Cognitive Science that seek to discover how knowledge of language is represented in the mind/brain of its speakers. The aim of the course is to show that language is a complex and intricate system that is a peculiar adaptation of the human mind/brain and can be studied in the same way as any other intricate and complex physiological adaptation.

Topics to be discussed include: (a) speakers� utilization of their knowledge of language (internal grammar) in the production and comprehension of speech, (b) language development in children and the biological innateness of the language faculty, (c) location of language in the brain and its physiological correlates, (d) language deficits and impairments (aphasia), (e) language and communication in non-human primates, (f) language as an evolutionary adaptation specific to humans.

Texts/References

T. Bever, Carroll, J. and Miller, L. (eds.),  Talking Minds: The Study of Language in the Cognitive Sciences. MIT Press, 1984.

J. de Luce and Wilder, H. (eds.),  Language in Primates: Perspectives and Implications. Springer Verlag, 1983.

A. Elliot, Child Language. CUP, 1981.

F. Newmeyer (ed.),  Linguistics: The Cambridge Survey, Vol. III, Language: Psychological and Biological Aspects. CUP, 1988.

P. Whitelock , Wood, M., Somers, H., Johnson, R. and Bennet, P. (eds.), Linguistic Theory and Computer Applications. Academic Press, 1987.