How do we learn (foreign) languages? And how can we increase the efficiency of language learning and vocabulary acquisition during the language learning process? These are two highly significant questions that psycholinguists try to answer by investigating the characteristics and organization of our brain and its highly complex and adaptive system. Many researchers and psycholinguists assume that our brain consists of a “mental lexicon”. This “human word store” (Surkamp & Viebrock, 2018) allows us to store, organize, and retrieve conceptual, semantic, and phonological information about systematically linked lexical items in our brain.

In this context, this course will deal with the key concepts, models, and theories of the mental lexicon and vocabulary acquisition by focusing on the following aspects and learning objectives:

Learning objectives:

  • Learn about the key concepts and characteristics of the Mental Lexicon
  • Know several popular models and theories about the organization of the Mental Lexicon, including word stores and lexical entries as well as their hierarchy and relationships
  • Learn about crucial theories and models that deal with deep learning processes
  • Understand the role of errors and mistakes in the language learning process and what can be learned about the organization of the Mental Lexicon through error production
  • Get to know the receptive and productive competences (listening, reading, speaking and writing) and their respective role in language learning
  • Be able to discuss and implement teaching and learning strategies for vocabulary acquisition in the foreign language classroom
  • Understand the impact and the role of social and cultural aspects in the context of the Mental Lexicon
  • Be able to discuss, evaluate, and make use of interactive tools for vocabulary acquisition
  • Learn about how to use research software, such as MAXQDA, for data, text and multimedia analysis