Journal for Language Teaching

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The relationship between grammar and the psychological processing of language

Philip Mhundwa


The study reported in this article identifies aspects of language usage that illustrate the relationship between grammatical structures and psycholinguistic processing. The psycholinguistic assumption underlying the research for this paper is that structures of speech utterances reflect the manner in which speakers perceive and psycholinguistically process information. The data analysed was elicited from selected first language users of Shona, Ndebele and Setswana. The corresponding English sentences were provided by the researcher. Similarities between the data verified the assumption that grammatical structuring is largely determined by speakers\' psycholinguistic perceptions and how they process the meaning of what they perceive.

Keywords: linguistic universals, psycholinguistic processing, universal grammar, psycholinguistic word order, metaphorical extensions, processing constraints, end-focus theory

Journal for Language Teaching Vol. 39(1) 2005: 149-161
AJOL African Journals Online