Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


The course studies language processing (psycholinguistics) and brain function related to language processing (neurolinguistics); competing views of the language acquisition process (e.g. nativist vs. cognitivist); the relationship between language development and the development of other cognitive capacities; and psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic research methods.



  • Semester 1 - 2022


  • Semester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Discuss the differences between competing theories of language acquisition.

2. Describe the neurological bases of language processing with the description of specific regions of the brain involved in language comprehension and production.

3. Explain how speech perception in infants and young children are tested and what the research results suggest about language universals.

4. Construct and deliver a comprehensive academic presentation based on the literature review on a specific topic related to language and mind.

5. Conduct an advanced literature review on sentence processing and cognitive disorder and summarise the findings in a succinct manner.


  1. Main theories of first language acquisition: Chomsky's Universal Grammar and nativists' approach vs. connectionism and anti-nativists' approach.
  2. The neurological base of language: brain lateralisation (left hemispheric dominance); brain functions for language comprehension and production; bilingual brain; language recovery after hemispheretomy/aphasia.
  3. Language development; speech perception in infants; cognitive development and Theory of Mind in young children.
  4. Word recognition (lexical knowledge storage and retrieval) and sentence processing in adults.

Assessment items

Quiz: Quiz (15%)

Essay: Essay (x 2) (30% each = 60% total)

Exhibition / Poster: Poster Presentation (25%)

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks



Online 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks


Online 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.