Language and the Mind

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
26 May 2020


Requisites for this module
LG215 or LG214



Key module for


Module description

This module builds on notions and topics approached and developed in psycholinguistics modules in Years 1 and 2. Now that you have an understanding of key concepts and processes, we will focus on current trends and recent research published on a range of aspects in the field. Resolutely driven by current research, the module focuses on how empirical study can advance theories on how language is stored and processed in the mind, how language is learned and how language is used. This will contribute to a more precise grasp of theories of language processing, representation, learning and use.

Module aims

You will expand your understanding of psycholinguistics and applied linguistics research. You will discover new topics and methods of investigation.
You will develop and apply your critical thinking skills when discussing scientific papers, especially during your presentation in front of your peers.

Module learning outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you will:
(i) have gained specific knowledge of current theoretical and methodological issues in psycholinguistics,
(ii) be able to understand and assess the contribution of scientific outputs to the scientific community, in psycholinguistics but also in more applied environments,
(iii) be able to gather data and knowledge on a specific topic and present your findings in a lecture-like format.

Module information


The list of topics is non-exhaustive and can vary from year to year:
- week 2: Introduction. Using ERPs to investigate sentence processing (CDL)
Barkley, C., KLuender, R., & Kutas, M. (2015). Referential processing in the human brain: An Event-Related Potential (ERP) study. Brain Research, 1629, 143-159.

- week 3: Perception of regional variation: the pre-school years and beyond (EJ)
Floccia, C., Butler, J., Girard, F., & Goslin, J. (2009). Categorization of regional and foreign accent in 5-to 7-year-old British children. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 33(4), 366-375.

- week 4: Speech perception: how do infants deal with speaker variability? (CDL)
Floccia, C., Delle Luche, C., Durrant, S., Butler, J., & Goslin, J. (2012). Parent or community: Where do 20-month-olds exposed to two accents acquire their representation of words? Cognition, 124, 95-100. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2012.03.011

- week 5: Bilingualism: how do infants organise their lexicon? (CDL)
DeAnda, S., Hendrickson, K., Zesiger, P., Poulin-Dubois, D., & Friend, M. (2018). Lexical access in the second year: A study of monolingual and bilingual vocabulary development. Bilingualism (Cambridge, England), 21(2), 314-327. doi:10.1017/S1366728917000220

- week 6: Bilingualism: lifelong development and language attrition (MS)
Schmid, M.S. (2014) The Debate on Maturational Constraints in Bilingual
Development: A Perspective from First-Language Attrition, Language Acquisition, 21(4), 386-410.

- week 7: What characterises successful language learners? (KRB)
Biedro"ì, A., & Szczepaniak, A. (2012). Working memory and short-term memory abilities in accomplished multilinguals. Modern Language Journal, 96(2), 290-306.

- week 8: Do we know what we know? What language learners believe and what they can actually do (KRB)
Rodríguez Silva, L. H., & Roehr-Brackin, K. (2016). Perceived learning difficulty and actual performance: Explicit and implicit knowledge of L2 English grammar points among instructed adult learners. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 38(2), 317-340.

- week 9: Children's language learning in the classroom (KRB)
Roehr-Brackin, K., & Tellier, A. (2019). The role of language-analytic ability in children's instructed second language learning. Studies in Second Language Acquisition. (Advance online publication)

- week 10: Lexical processing: do consonants drive lexical access? (CDL)
Delle Luche, C., Poltrock, S., Goslin, J., New, B., Floccia, C., & Nazzi, T. (2014). Differential processing of consonants and vowels in the auditory modality: A cross-linguistic study. Journal of Memory and Language, 72, 1-15. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2013.12.001

- week 11: Class presentations

Learning and teaching methods

1 x 2hr lecture per week for 10 weeks


  • BIEDRON, ADRIANA; SZCZEPANIAK, ANNA. (Summer 2012) 'Working memory and short-term memory abilities in accomplished multilinguals', in The Modern Language Journal. vol. 96 (2) , pp.290-306
  • Roehr-Brackin, Karen; Tellier, Angela. (2019) 'The role of language-analytic ability in children's instructed second language learning', in Studies in Second Language Acquisition. vol. 41 (5) , pp.1111-1131
  • Rodríguez Silva, Luis Humberto; Roehr-Brackin, Karen. (2016-06) 'Perceived learning difficult and actual performance: Explicit and implicit knowledge of L2 English grammar points among instructed adult learners', in Studies in Second Language Acquisition. vol. 38 (2) , pp.317-340
  • Floccia, Caroline; Butler, Joseph; Girard, Frédérique; Goslin, Jeremy. (2009) 'Categorization of regional and foreign accent in 5- to 7-year-old British children', in International Journal of Behavioral Development. vol. 33 (4) , pp.366-375
  • Niels O. Schiller. (2018) 'Neurolinguistics: A Brief Historical Perspective', in The Oxford Handbook of Neurolinguistics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Research presentation    25% 
Coursework   Essay 1 (1000 words)    25% 
Coursework   Essay 2 (1500 words)    50% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Claire Delle Luche, email: c.delleluche@essex.ac.uk.
Claire Delle Luche, Ella Jeffries, Karen Roehr-Brackin, Monika Schmid
Claire Delle Luche, 4.313, 872113, c.delleluche@essex.ac.uk Ella Jeffries, 4.207, 873762, e.jeffries@essex.ac.uk Karen Roehr-Brackin, 3.306, 872189, kroehr@essex.ac.uk Monika Schmid, 4.326, 872089, mschmid@essex.ac.uk Karen Roehr-Brackin, 3.306, 872189, kroehr@essex.ac.uk Monika Schmid, 4.326, 872089, mschmid@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Lynne Julie Cahill
University of Sussex
Available via Moodle
Of 1112 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
1110 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
2 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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