PSY FPX 7421 Assessment 4 Language
Phillip April 23, 2024 No Comments

PSY FPX 7421 Assessment 4 Language

PSY FPX 7421 Assessment 4 Language


Capella university

PSY FPX 7421 Cognitive/Affective Psychology

Prof. Name



When we hear dogs bark or cats meow, it prompts us to consider whether they are engaging in some form of communication akin to language. However, according to Willingham (2007), true communication must possess certain characteristics: it must be communicative, arbitrary, structured, generative, and dynamic. Therefore, the sounds emitted by dogs or cats represent singular expressions rather than structured language. On the other hand, humans possess overlapping cognitive functions and assimilate language through mental processes, such as the lexicon, which stores word representations (Hilpert, 2008). This mental repository includes spelling, pronunciation, and grammatical information for each assimilated word, aiding in comprehension and communication. Language, in its myriad forms, serves as the medium through which we convey thoughts and ideas to others. However, the standard definition of language falls short in fully capturing its complexity, necessitating an examination of the four levels of language structure and processing to comprehend its nuances and its role in cognitive psychology.

Key Features of Language

Language, with its intricate linguistics, eludes precise definition. Nonetheless, several key features are fundamental to its nature. Firstly, language must be communicative, facilitating speech between individuals (Vepstas, 2010). Secondly, it is arbitrary, with meanings assigned to linguistic elements without inherent connection. Thirdly, language is structured, involving the arrangement of words into coherent sentences. Additionally, language is generative, enabling the creation of countless expressions from a finite set of elements. Finally, language is dynamic, constantly evolving within the English language context. These features collectively underpin the essence of language, enabling the expression and comprehension of thoughts and ideas. For a system to qualify as a language, it must incorporate these key features, which are notably absent in the vocalizations of dogs and cats, despite variations across different human languages.

PSY FPX 7421 Assessment 4 Language

The Four Levels of Language

When humans articulate their thoughts, they do so through gestures or words, drawing upon a vast vocabulary to convey meaning (Vepstas, 2010). The structure and processing of language operate across four levels: phonemes, words, sentences, and text. Phonemes represent the elemental speech sounds, exemplified by distinctions such as the “k” sound in “kit” and “skill” (Vepstas, 2010). Words comprise combinations of phonemes, forming the lexical building blocks of language. Sentences, in turn, constitute grammatical arrangements of words to articulate coherent thoughts orally or in writing. Finally, texts consist of interconnected sentences, coalescing to expound upon a topic. Each level contributes to the robustness of language, providing a framework for effective communication. Over the years, various psychologists and philosophers, notably B.F. Skinner, have contributed theories and insights into language development, refining our understanding of its intricacies.

The Role of Language Processing in Cognitive Psychology

In considering the role of language processing in cognitive psychology, it is imperative to recognize that cognitive psychology encompasses processes of perception, thought, and learning (Willingham, 2007). Language processing is integral to these cognitive functions, facilitating both conscious and unconscious mental activities. Proficiency in language structure and phonemic understanding is crucial for effective communication, comprehension, and decision-making. Language enables individuals to perceive and articulate needs, fostering interaction and understanding. Without language, navigating the world and engaging with others would be profoundly challenging. Mastery of language structure contributes to personal growth and cognitive development, shaping individuals into articulate and informed members of society.


Language, characterized by its communicative, arbitrary, structured, generative, and dynamic nature, forms the cornerstone of human communication and understanding (Vepstas, 2010). The lexical and mental entries associated with language further enhance our comprehension and expression of thoughts and ideas. The four levels of language—phonemes, words, sentences, and text—provide a scaffold for linguistic proficiency and effective communication. Language, though innate, undergoes refinement through the learning process, enabling civilized discourse and interaction. In cognitive psychology, language processing plays a pivotal role in facilitating perception, thought, and learning, thereby fostering meaningful engagement with the world. Understanding the nuances of language structure and processing is essential for comprehending the complexities of human communication and cognition.


Hilpert, M. (2008). The English Comparative – Language Structure and Language Use. English Language and Linguistics, 12(3), 395-417. doi:

Vepstas, L. (2010). Structure in Linguistics. International Journal Of Corpus Linguistics, 15(3), 363-369. doi:10.1075/ijcl.15.3.06vep

PSY FPX 7421 Assessment 4 Language

Willingham, D. T. (2007). Cognition: The Thinking Animal (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.