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Linguistic structuralism The term structuralism originates in Course de Linguistique Generale of Ferdinand de Saussure (1916). Saussure distinguishes: 1.

. Language and parole 2. Synchronic and diachronic approach 3. Signified and signifier According to Saussure, langue denotes the abstract systematic principles of a language and parole refers to particular utterances which are based on those principles. The focus of Saussure is on langue rather than parole. Saussure argues that we should study language synchronically because language is a system of pure values which are determined by nothing except the momentary arrangements of its term. Diachronic Approach Diachronic --- through time It concerns language in its historical development. Historical linguistics is known as diachronic or temporal linguistics and deals with the development of language through time. For example, it concerns the way in which French or Italian have evolved from Latin and Hindi from Sanskrit. It also investigates language change. e.g., a study of the change from Old to Middle English is a diachronic study. Old English Middle English Chint knight Stan stone a o Synchronic Approach

Synchronic with time It concerns language as a living whole; language is studied at a particular point in time. Traditional descriptive and educational or pedagogic grammars are the product of synchronic approach. Linguistic Sign In Course in General Linguistics, the focus of Saussures investigation is on the linguistic sign. He urges that linguistic sign is comprised of two parts: 1. A signifier (the sound pattern of a word, or its graphic equivalent) 2. A signified (the concept or meaning of the word)

Summary of Saussures Structural Linguistics The French linguist Ferdinand de Saussure studied language from a formal and theoretical point of view, i.e. as a system of signs which could be described synchronically (as a static set of relationships independent of any changes that take place over time) rather than diachronically (as a dynamic system which changes over time). According to Saussure, the basic unit of language is a sign. A sign is composed of signifier (a sound-image, or its graphic equivalent) and a signified (the concept or meaning). So, for example, a word composed of the letters p-e-a-r functions as a signifier by producing in the mind of English-speakers the concept (signified). 1 According to Saussure, the relation between a signifier and a signified is arbitrary

Developmental stages of psycholinguistics First Stage The study of the psychology of language is often traced to a conference held in Cornell University (1951) in which psychologists and linguists gathered to define a common field of research, and the word psycholinguistics was first used in Osgood and Sebeoks (1954) book describing that conference and development in the field. Three disciplines were brought together to form this movement. 1. Psychology 2. Structural linguistics that was characterized by distributionalists 3. Concepts taken from mathematical probability theory. Second stage Generative grammar theory Chomskys GGT created a new excitement in the study of the psychology of language. This theory is about how phrase and sentences are formed. Rules Constitutes a Generative Grammar: Phrase Structure Rules It is referred to a rule that breaks down a sentence into its constituent parts (S ------- NP VP ) By applying phrase structure rule a lot of sentences can be formed, but it is also possible to form a sentence that is syntactically right but semantically nonsensical. e.g., Chomskys illustration Colorless green ideas sleep furiously Therefore, syntax needs semantic to convey the meaning. Transformational rule

It is referred to a rule that takes an input called Deep Structure and changes it in some restricted way to result in a Surface Structure. ----- Deep Structure is generated by a set of phrase structure rules. -----Deep structure determines the meaning -----Surface structure is what we write or speak of a sentence

In 1965, Chomsky provided a new version of syntax theory called standard theory in which he included the following principles. --- Syntactic component of a language needs a semantic component to convey the meaning, and a phonological component which translates the terminal strings into sounds. --- Semantic component bears on the deep structure of the sentence and transformations have no effect on meaning. --- The lexical elements are inserted at the deep-structure level.

Finally, Chomskys influence on psycholinguistics cannot be overstated. He drew an important distinction between competence, the knowledge we have about a language, and performance , the use of that language in concrete situations. In the field of language acquisition, Chomsky postulated the existence of an innate language acquisition device (LAD) that was a strong argument against behavourists. In conclusion, Chomsky s influence creates a new spirit in the field of psycholinguistics despite the fact that the mental operation postulate on the basis of generative grammar was not confirmed by experimental result.

Third Stage: Psycholinguistics Today From 1970s onwards

Some psycholinguists considered Chomskyan theory satisfactory and emphasized performance strategies. On the other hand, a number of researchers refused to considered any linguistics theory as final and looked instead to a variety of linguists for heuristic suggestion with a view to establish experimentally a psychological model of the language user. Characterization of Modern Day Psycholinguistics: 1. It is tending toward cognitive psychology as the work of investigation and thinking analysis are difficult to be ignored in the study of language. 2. The approach to language has widened. We have moved on from purely Chomskys syntactic school to semantic and pragmatic aspects of the language. 3. Finally, in the development of Psycholinguistics we cannot ignore the role or the experiments performed on artificial intelligence.

The Methods: Psycholinguistics Experimental Techniques The main focus of psycholinguistics is on speech production rather than speech comprehension because speech production is a complex process, as it involves selection of words, topic, situation and subjects mental processing . Methods 1. Control Experiment In control experiment the following complications for performance are balanced. Control within subject problem Control of extra-linguistic factors: fatigue, refusal to cooperate, cognitive damage, gender etc.

Control of linguistic factor: stimulus length, complexity, frequency etc. Task: the subject is given a stimuli in the form of words distorted in various ways ( masking by another sound and filtering out of certain frequencies). Aim: the researchers determine both the nature of information used by the listener and the role of contextual data in the reconstruction of missing information. 2. Reaction Time (RT) It is online method. Aim: it measures subj ects RT (response latency) to a language stimulus. RT measure time from onset of a stimulus to onset of a response. Task: a subject has to decide whether the given stimulus is a word or not (lexical decision), or a given sentence is true or false etc. In result, the time interval between the message and its production provides interesting information about the nature and complexity of processing. By applying this method, researchers make the use of physiological measurement such as eye fixation time, electrodermal response and as well as the electroencephalographic measurement. Memory Paradime Aim: to explore the product of mental processing and to find out that the data is present in short-term memory or in long term-memory. Task: a subject is given a word and is asked to find out related words (such as bed, pillow, blanket, etc) or similar words and utterances (hog, dog), or a subject is asked to locate a short noise- a click in a sentence which has just been heard.

In this experiment, techniques such as free recall, cued recall are used and task may vary: completing a sentence, paraphrasing etc. Experimentation Difficulty Experimentation in this field is difficult as the available data and observation are based on guessing rather science. The main focus of the above experiments is on comprehension rather than speech production. The reason is that the speech production is a complex process and the research in this field is young, not enough mature.

General Methodological Problems Multiplicity of Languages In the world there are three to four thousand languages that are currently spoken by different races, so the data and result observed within one specific language cannot be applied on another language. Artificial Nature of Experiment In laboratory experiment, the research is done on isolated sentences which are out of context and deprived of any communicative function. So how we can apply the results obtained through such experiment on the natural use of language which is a complex process? The reply to this question is that complex process can be explained in term of the simple, but sometimes simplicity is misleading. In the artificial experiment, we impose artificial experimental terms and conditions on subject operation which do not occur in habitual or real situation, and we cannot fully bring into account the subject s implicit knowledge about a language and its condition of use which results problem.