What is psycholinguistics?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Psycholinguistics is the study of how the human mind processes, understands, and creates language. Scientists and scholars from a variety of disciplines study psycholinguistics, and their work usually focuses on a few areas. They are interested in how children (and adults) gain language skills, how people understand language at the level of cognition, and how we communicate through language. Psycholinguistics has been shaped by two crucial figures in the scientific community, B.F. Skinner, who argued that speech is entirely a learned behavior, and Noam Chomsky, who claimed that people have the ability to speak physically "hard-wired" in their brains. 


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