Psycholinguistics or psychology of language is the study of psychological and neurobiological aspects which permits individuals to acquire, use, understand and produce a language.
Additionally, the discipline focuses on the mechanisms that allow humans to reproduce languages in their brain.
Originally psycholinguistics was related to philosophy and education; however, nowadays, the topic is linked to biology, neuroscience, cognitive science, linguistics and information science.
Psycholinguistics can be broken down into different areas: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatic.
Phonetics and phonology focus on the speech sounds; morphology concentrates on the words structure and their relationship with other terms; syntax focuses on how word patterns can build sentences; semantics studies the meaning of words and sentences; finally, pragmatic focus on the context and interpretation of the meaning.
Psycholinguistics concentrates on three main topics: the language acquisition, comprehension, and production.
Language acquisition is the process by which individuals become capable to perceive and understand a language, as well as produce and use words to communicate.
Language comprehension or sentence processing is the act by which individuals understand what other people say and write. Language comprehension involves different skills, processes, and knowledge used to acquire the meaning of a spoken, written or signed language.
Language production consists of the generation of a spoken or written language. This study describes all the steps between the abstract concept and its linguistic form. Indeed, through this process, a non-linguistic message becomes a spoken, signed or written signal.
Most works in psycholinguistics started in the 1960s and focused on how children communicate.
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