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Last updated:

April 8, 2022


6 months


This course includes:

6 months

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

6 months


Human communication is vastly more complex than that of any other species we know about. It is so complex that linguists are only just beginning to identify the processes in the brain that are related to understanding language.

This free course, From sound to meaning: hearing, speech, and language, looks at how language is understood by taking an interdisciplinary approach.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:
  • Recognize definitions and applications of key terms relating to mental health
  • Understand and apply basic grammatical terminology
  • Describe briefly the different types of sounds used in speech in both acoustic and articulatory terms
  • Outline the key features of human language as compared to the vocalizations of other species
  • Describe the complex psychological processes involved in decoding even simple sentences of spoken language.

Course Curriculum

    • Overview 00:20:00
    • Preliminaries 00:30:00
    • Generativity and duality of patterning 00:40:00
    • From ear to phoneme: the phonological problem 03:00:00
    • From phoneme to meaning: the semantic problem 00:20:00
    • From phoneme to sentence structure: the syntactic problem 00:20:00
    • Summary of Section 2 00:10:00
    • Speech perception 00:40:00
    • The anatomy of the language system 00:30:00
    • Specialisation within language areas: aphasia 02:00:00
    • Specialization within language areas: brain scanning 00:15:00
    • Electrophysiological studies of language processing 02:00:00
    • Summary of Section 3 00:15:00
    • Conclusions 01:00:00

About the instructor

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Open University UK