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June 1st, 2010

study of meaning [Jun. 1st, 2010|03:15 pm]
iameug
Several years ago I delved into a very young yet promising field called "psycholinguistics". This term is very broad, as it is trying to encompass two distinct complex areas of human development: acquisition of language and study of meaning.
The first area is a blend of child psychology and theoretical linguistics. Primary question is "How do we learn a new language?" So, naturally, scientists started studying how children acquire the first language and how it evolves into a cohesive mode of communication with the world.
The second area is a combination of semantics, perception, communication, and mostly computational linguistics. The easiest way to study such subject matter is to create an artificial language and have subjects interact in it; then study how subjects perceive information that was exchanged during communication and, based on findings, devise computational models that would explain the observations.
This field asks the question: "If I talk to my interlocutor, how do I know that he perceived my words exactly as I wanted to convey them to him?" This area of science has a lot of potential, and a myriad of discoveries are being made every year.
As children, unbeknownst to ourselves, we already touch on the study of meaning - when we play a game "broken telephone".

Psycholinguistics is a "social science sister" of neuroscience, which revolves primarily around neurobiology that tries to answer the same questions via physiological and anatomical aspects. Thus, in neuroscience "child psychology" is replaced with "behavioural psychology" et al.

Well, little did I know that Gurjiev has already answered most of the questions in "study of meaning" portion of psycholinguistics. Read P.D.Uspenskiy's "In search of the miraculous" (chapter 4).
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