EL5016 - Psychology of Language

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will critically analyse, review and develop your knowledge and understanding of key principles, arguments and research methods connected with psycholinguistics, which explores the relationship between language and mind. You will continue to consolidate your understanding of how data from empirical investigation relates to theory by developing your ability to use evidence to defend or refute an argument about the nature of language and language processing. You will further explore the universal characteristics of language, place language in its biological and social contexts and be expected to apply ideas from empirical research to reach potential solutions to complex problems.

How will I learn on this module?

The module will be delivered through a combination of interactive lectures and seminars. The lectures will introduce key themes, new topics, concepts as well as consolidating your understanding of research methods (e.g., from EL4011 Doing Linguistics). The interactive lectures will give you a broad understanding of the subject and enable you to contextualise the more specific research and data presented and discussed in seminars. Seminars will be devoted to more in-depth consideration of theoretical and methodological problems in psycholinguistics. This will enable you to a demonstrate deeper understanding of the relationship between theory and data, and encourage critical reflection.

In addition to learning during taught hours with the module tutor, you will be expected to undertake both directed and independent learning. Directed learning generally will take the form of preparation for seminars where you will be expected to contribute to group work and full class discussion. Independent learning generally will take the form of further reading and investigation, the consolidation of seminar notes, and revision/preparation for the assessment of the module.

All learning materials, tasks and readings will be posted on the eLP (e-learning portal) to facilitate full participation in the module. Additionally, you will receive formative feedback on your ideas and understandings throughout the module. The module’s final, summative assessment will also provide an opportunity for learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module will be taught by a mixture of interactive lectures and seminars designed to develop your academic knowledge and skills, to help you attain the module learning outcomes. Your academic development will also be facilitated through engagement with the academic literature and by talking with your peers and the module tutor. The will includes, e.g., reading around the topic, and discussing and reflecting upon what you have read.

The module handbook provides details of lectures, seminars, reading lists and assessment criteria; lecture materials are made available on the eLP (see above). The module tutor will be available in lectures and seminars, as well as in ‘Feedback and consultation hours’ (i.e. ‘office hours’) and on email, to discuss any queries or concerns you have about how to excel academically on the module. Formative feedback will be on-going throughout seminar/workshop activities. Formative feedback will also be provided on your 500 word essay plan, prior to completion of the module’s formative assessment (an essay)

In addition, you have a designated Guidance Tutor throughout the entire duration of your programme. The academic side of the Guidance Tutor’s role includes: monitoring your ongoing academic progress; helping you to develop self-reflection skills necessary for continuous academic development; directing you to further available services which can help them with their academic skills (e.g. Library’s Skills Plus). You are advised to see your Guidance Tutor at least twice each semester to review your academic progress..

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical associations and relationships between language and mind.
2. Examine empirical evidence and demonstrate understanding as to how this is used to support or refute particular theories in order to reach potential solutions to complex theoretical problems

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Present in speech and writing complex ideas as the basis for engagement in intellectual debate and establish and justify your own position within complex debates and arguments.
4. Demonstrate an understanding of approaches to language and the mind, including methods of data collection, analysis and theoretical interpretation

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Demonstrate intellectual openness to historical and contemporary academic perspectives on the relationships between language and the mind/brain

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment

1. You will present your ideas during seminars and will receive formative feedback from the module tutor and peers on any perspectives you share. Such formative feedback will enable you to test and form your own understanding of the various theoretical debates relating to the psychology of language.
2. 500-word essay plan
This formative assessment will aim to ensure you organise your ideas and material for the assessed essay, by selecting relevant resources to help you answer the question they have chosen. The plan will be submitted and feedback provided via email, supported by a one-to-one meeting with the module tutor as necessary. The rationale for this is to enable you to road-test ideas before committing yourself to an argument or position.
Formative assessments address MLOs in ‘Knowledge and Understanding’, ‘Intellectual/Professional skills & abilities’, and ‘Personal Values Attributes’.

Summative (graded) Assessments
1. 3,000-word academic essay
You will have to write an essay in response to a set of questions provided by the module tutor. You will be expected to demonstrate a clear engagement with the larger themes and debates of the Psychology of Language. The essay questions crosscut the lecture topics, so that you will have to read widely in order to fully address the essay question. The aim here is to ensure you get to grips with theoretical positions and concepts, while expressing your arguments in a format with which you should now be familiar.

The essay assessment will be part of the learning process, and addresses all five MLOS.

Feedback will be provided using the Programme template and comments on the script.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code Q310

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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