Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Psychology and Language: Research Proposal Essay

The relationship between psychology and language is a moot point among some scholars. However, when the two disciplines are taken into account in terms of their contrast and comparison, it merges jarringly clear that a relation exists between them. The two are either inextricably bound, or one of the discipline is overly dependent on the on the other. This study is aimed at unveiling the relations that exist between the two. And for this to be realized, the opinion of various targeted respondents will have to be solicited through interviews. Besides, scholarly opinion will also be collected and collated from publications, both recent and past. Their review will therefore assist to come up with a condensed conclusion about the study. In essence, this research will bring to the connection between the two disciplines, how one influences the development of another. Literature Review The relationship between language and psychology can hardly be gainsaid. Various scholars have delved into this discourse, offering their varied opinion supported by their informed arguments.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   According to some theories, language do exists as a system of signs, the meaning and implications of which are entirely dependent on their relation to other signs of the system, and of the structure of linguistic expressions in which they occur. Other theories have it that language is a system of syntactic forms which come ready made in the mind of the speaker from birth, and which gives speakers the competence to generate and understand infinitely many different propositions. And this is independent of the experience and knowledge that speakers have of that which they speak or of the context in which the propositions are generated and understood. (Paetorius, 98)   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The study of languages, otherwise termed as linguistics can sometimes be a technical discipline with a reality and a vocabulary of its own. This best explains why psychologists have often waited for linguists to offer them education on the meaning of language.   This meaning helps the psychologists in the quest to further study its comprehension, processing and acquisition. (Tomasello, 1)   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   In The Grammar of Autobiography, Quigley aptly relates the two disciplines by arguing that psychology operates in an unstable, developing world that is open to change as a consequence of our communicative activity, rather than in the independent knowable reality of cognitive psychology. He adds that linking psychology with our social world is hardly a new phenomenon. Instead, proposing language as the mediator between the two is novel. (6) Currently, language isn’t only representative but also formative. It does functions to construct situations as they are, instead of just to reporting them. He argues that our thoughts aren’t just the source of our talk; they are constituted and/or formulated in our talk. Since psychology is the science of the mind, then the objects of psychology is not individuals but what goes on in the space between them. While studying the relation between words and world, it is not cognition but language that gives us the world. (6) In Language as Social Action: Social Psychology and Language Use, another scholar, Holtgraves, point out that language use is interpersonal in many ways. For one, it is a rich source of identity- relevant information. This is because many aspects of language use, for instance accent, speech rate and politeness level, provide crucial information that can be used by others in forming impressions of people. (6) Besides, many of these variables can be changed strategically as means of managing the impressions that people convey to others. Holtgraves therefore concludes that the use of language plays a significant role in both person perceptions; how people perceive one another and impression management: how people vary their talks strategically to achieve particular effects. (6) From the above discourse we can infer that the correlation between psychology and language is best demonstrated by the fact that words, which are the predominant tools of human communication bear meaning which are not independent from the though process of individuals. Michael Forrester argues in Psychology of Language: A Critical Introduction, that there has always existed a link between psychology and philosophy which has been close and occasionally complementary. And this is particularly the case within psychology of language, especially when the question of meaning arises. Therefore it is hard, even impossible to discuss to discuss language as such without looking into the nature of meaning. This makes it difficult o consider key topics in language for instance, communication, language acquisition and comprehension, without the understanding of what is at issue when people use the word ‘meaning’. (56) Forrester adds that the use of a word or a phrase in appropriate way makes one immediately accountable for whatever they say. As a result, we assume that people mean what they say and also intend others will understand the acceptable meaning of the utterance and act accordingly. Therefore, language without meaning is not language at all. This overview study of meaning, otherwise termed as semantics, makes it clear that although there are particular gains in adopting approaches where appropriate, any consideration of what language user mean when they make an utterance in context imputes us to go beyond truth-conditional semantics. In sum, the contemporary study of semantics can hardly be taken without due consideration of the function of language. (56) One universal design feature of language is that their meaning bearing form is that they are divided into two different subsystems: the open class otherwise known as the lexical and the closed class otherwise refereed to as the grammatical. The difference between the two is that open classes do have many members and can easily add many more. These include nouns, verbs and adjectives. On the other hand, closed classes have relatively few members and are hard difficult to augment. They consist of such bound forms as inflections as found in verbs and such free forms as prepositions, conjunction and determinants. The meaning that open-class forms do express are virtually unrestricted, whereas those of closed-class forms are highly constrained both as the conceptual category they can refer to and as to the particular member notions within any such category. (Tomassello, 15) In essence language has a more profound implication s fro our social existence. It plays a role in virtually every aspect of our dealings with others.   Therefore understanding what we are doing when we use language can help us to understand what it means to be a social being. (Holtgrave, 8)   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Possibilities have been explored for studying language at its functional roots as well as its structural realization. This is in the sense that human speech may be formed by general adaptive semantics at the limbic core of the brain as it is then articulated within specific sensory and motor routines of the neocortical shell. (Givon and Malle, 71) This argument can be made on anatomical grounds, interpreting function through the density of connections. It can also be made on psychological grounds, interpreting the excitability of limbic-cortical connections as reflective of the process of memory consolidation. (Givon and Malle, 71)   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Research Hypothesis The conduction of this research will involve both the independent and dependent variables. The independent variables in this study are language as a tool that facilitates communication and psychology as the science of the mind. On the other hand the dependent variables are language speakers, communication and psychologists.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The independent variable in this study are related to the dependent variable in that, it is from the language speakers that the in-depth meaning of words is unveiled, further revealing the underlying intentions behind the spoken words. This relations goes ahead to shed additional light on how the mind is the source of words. Therefore, the spoken word does betray the intention of the mind. The other independent variable, in this case the psychologists, through their informed opinions help to shape the realism and surrealism of the link between psychology and language. Research Methods Research Design The relevant data that will facilitate the comprehensive conclusion of this study will be gathered by the use of both qualitative and quantitative techniques. In essence, both primary and secondary data will be whereas probability and non-probability methods of sampling will be employed in selecting the representative sample of the population.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Target Population. The study will be conducted nation-wide amongst language students (those learning a new language), language teachers, linguists and psychologists. The targeted respondents will fall within the age bracket of 16 and 60 years of age.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Data Collection Instruments For constructive findings to be reached, this study will warrant that various instruments of data collection be employed. For one, quantitative data will be collected by the use of structured interviews: questionnaires will be served to the targeted populations, with questions bearing some slight differences according to the specific ages or occupation of the respondents. Other quantitative data will be gathered by the use of service statistics, which will compare the results of a particular previous relevant studies conducted nationwide. Secondary data sources from books, magazines, journals and legal documents will also offer quantitative data. On the other hand, qualitative data will be gathered through unstructured interviews, whereby experts in law and sociology will be interviewed. Qualitative data will also be gathered from focus group discussions, direct observation in the court proceedings and juvenile jail routine, and content analysis of published material.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Expected Results This study will likely reach the following results: It is anticipated that most respondents will concur with the fact that there is a relation between language and psychology; this response is likely to come from linguists, language scholars and psychologists, who through in-depth study have come into access of this relation. The relationship between language and psychology can easily escape the knowledge of many. This is expected to be the confession of many language speakers who have never had the opportunity through study to both consider how the two disciplines differ and compare. They of course will confess their ignorance about the subtle technical similarities and difference between the two disciplines. However, given a chance to muse over it, the above respondents will readily agree that there is a relation between the two disciplines. This will come easily since they can visualize the link between their thoughts and words. The literature from which the secondary data in this study will be gathered will likely demonstrate views of the correlation between the two disciplines. Some scholars will definitely beg to differ with this argument, though they are not going to outnumber those who support the argument that indeed a relationship exists between the two. Reference Michael Tomassello, The New Psychology of Language: Cognitive and Functional Approaches   to Languages   Structure, 1. Nini Praetorius, (2003) Principles of Cognition, Language and Action, 98.   Thomas M. Holtgraves (200) Language as Social Action: Social Psychology and Language Use,   6, 8. Givon and Bertram F. Malle (2002) The Evolution of Language out of Pre-Language, 71. Jean Quigley, The Grammar of Autobiography, 6. Michael A. Forrester, (1996) Psychology of Language: A Critical Introduction, 56.   

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