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Module PPP-1009:
Language and its Disorders

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Manon Jones

Overall aims and purpose

Language is fundamental to human experience, providing tools with which to think and a way for us to communicate complex thoughts with others. Language is also an excellent system to understand how the human mind works. This module will provide an introduction to the psychological study of language, including language acquisition (how do infants and adults learn languages?), understanding (how do we convert auditory and/or visual signals into meaning?), and speaking (how do we convert our thoughts into sequences of motor movements in order to communicate meaningfully with others?). We will also consider the causes and characteristics of language disorders, such as aphasia and dyslexia.

Course content

Although the precise plan may vary from year to year, topics covered will typically include: language acquisition and developmental disorders; language understanding and speaking; reading and its disorders; multilingualism; linguistic relativity; language innateness.

Assessment Criteria


A* to A- Work displays comprehensive knowledge and detailed understanding, reflecting extensive background study. The work is highly focussed, well structured, logically presented, and with defended arguments. The work contains original interpretation, and new links between topics are developed. The work is presented to a high standard, with accurate communication and no factual or computational errors.

C- to C+

C- to C+ Work displays only knowledge of key areas/principles, with limited evidence of original interpretation or relevant background study. The work contains some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure. Arguments are presented, but they lack coherence. The work contains factual or computational errors with little evidence of problem solving.There are weaknesses in the standard of the presentation and its accuracy.


B+ to B- Work displays sound knowledge and understanding, but with some limitations. There is evidence of background study. The work has a defined and logical structure, but with some weaknesses in the way in which arguments are presented. There is some original interpretation and demonstration of links between topics. The work is presented carefully with accurate communication and few factual or computational errors.

Learning outcomes

  1. Debate whether language can tell us more about the human mind, including its possible effects on perception and other non-linguistic cognition.

  2. Show an understanding of common language disorders in the context of typical language processing, including associated causal hypotheses and debates.

  3. Show an ability to describe and debate the foundations of language at both cognitive and neurobiological levels.

  4. Show an understanding of the key debates surrounding the uniqueness of language to humans.

  5. Be able to identify and discuss the major issues and any associated theories and findings concerning how humans learn, understand, produce, and mentally represent language, both in spoken and written form.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight


EXAM Final exam

Short answer questions


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

Directed reading (5 hours per week) and assessment preparation (11.5 hours per exam).


One two-hour lecture per week.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
  • Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
  • Retrieve and organise information effectively.
  • Be sensitive and react appropriately to contextual and interpersonal psychological factors.
  • Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
  • Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
  • Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
  • Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
  • Understand and investigate the role of brain function in all human behaviour and experience.
  • Comprehend and use psychological data effectively, demonstrating a systematic knowledge of the application and limitations of various research paradigms and techniques.
  • Employ evidence-based reasoning and examine practical, theoretical and ethical issues associated with the use of different methodologies, paradigms and methods of analysis in psychology.


Resource implications for students

The library already has both paper and electronic versions of the core text, but should update to the latest edition. Paperback copies of the core text are currently available on Amazon for £26.98.

Talis Reading list

Reading list

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: