Speech & Hearing Sciences | Language Research
S696 | 8532 | Connell

The study of language impairment is a central aspect of current efforts to
develop explanatory models of human language which in turn have
implications for the study of the architecture of the human mind.
Language impairments provide a testing ground for hypotheses about how
language is processed normally, particularly for modularized models of
language and language processing.  A modularize theory breaks language
knowledge and performance into a set of interacting but encapsulated
components or modules.  Each module is thought to perform a unique and
specialized role in converting thoughts to speech and speech to thoughts.
The psychological reality of these modules can be tested by determining
whether symptoms displayed by language impaired individuals would be
predicted by a breakdown or inefficiency of a particular hypothesized
module or component of a module.  Thus, it is hypothesized that language
deficits result from the malfunctioning of some module of language.
	This approach has utility beyond model building.  It also sharpens
our understanding of the deficits that block the construction or the
operation of a normal language processor and provides insights into the
causative factors that may underlie the deficits.  Such information may
eventually lead to the development of new clinical procedures.
	The purpose of the course is thus to familiarize students with
current conceptions of language processing and language acquisition to
provide a background from which to view the various kinds of
language-impairment and to expose them to a broad range of theoretical and
empirical issues pertaining to the symptoms of laguage-impaired people.