October 8, 1976






Professor Leon A. James and Dr. Barbara Yaffey Gordon

Department of Psychology, UHM

(see Dean Lamoureux Memorandum of September 14, 1976)



Suggestion Catalogue Description


PSY 661 Psycho1inguistics/Ethnosemantics (3 credits)


Introduction to and training in the methods of analyzing situated discourse; the varieties of situational registers and the functions of talk; the analysis of conversational transcripts; relationship dynamics; topicalization; educational psycholinguistics; ethnosemantic color and probe techniques; transactional engineering. Work on Access Index of UH Archives of Transcripts and undergraduate student laboratory tutorials in applied psycholinguistics and ethnosemantics are both required activities.


1.      This proposal is for a new course listing in a graduate course to be known as „Psychology 661: Psycholinguistics/Ethnosemanticsš (3 credits). The purpose of the course is to provide graduate students in the Psychology Department at UHM with a needed opportunity to acquire skills in the specialized Area of Social/Personality.


Currently, the Program in Social/Personality leads to a Ph.D. degree with concentration in several available subųspecialties: e.g., Personality and Individual Differences; Psycholinguistics/Ethnosemantics; Environmental; etc. Since 1971, the specialty in Psycholinguistics/Ethnosemantics has been directed by Professor Leon James. Students in this area as well as in related areas, have been taking this course under the heading of a General Seminar, Psy 705. Enrollments in this course have averaged about 15 students in alternate semester offerings. Currently, there are 4 students in the Social/Personality Area who are specializing in the Psycholinguistics/Ethnosemantics field working towards a Ph.D. degree. It is planned that the number of graduate students in this area be raised to 8 next semester.


Additionally, the Psycholinguistics/Ethnosemantics specialization is of interest to students from other departments, particularly ESL, Linguistics, Anthropology, and Education. In the past, students from these departments have enrolled in the Psy 705 General Seminar, but it is clear that a course is needed to give formal recognition to the area itself. Hence this new course proposal.


Finally, the institutionalization of this course as „Psy 661š will free our General Seminar listing Psy 705 to be used as a seminar for advanced specialized topics within the Psycholinguistics/Ethnosemantics field.



The following is a suggested syllabus that describes the nature of the activities in the course:


I.         The Nature of Discourse Mechanisms


A.     The Dualities of Talk

B.     Situated Arguments and Reference

C.     The Varieties of Situational Registers

D.     Topicalization Dynamics

E.     Display Repertoire


II. The Nature of Relationship Dynamics


A.     Transactional Exchanges

B.     Claims, Alignments, Posturing

C.     Episodal Frames

D.     Role Type

E.     Relationship Rituals


III.        The Ethnosemantics of Topic Domains


A.     Glossaries, Dictionaries, Thesaurus, Almanacs, etc.

B.     Indexing Techniques of Text

C.     Cataloguingųpractices

D.     Micro-descriptive Reporting

E.     Color Coding Techniques of Conceptual Arrays

F.     ES-Probe Techniques for Investigating Topic Domains Through Fragmentation


IV.       Educational Psycholinguistics


A.     The Functions of School Language

B.     The Analysis of Instructional Transactions

C.     Teacher Training in Language Teaching

D.     Transactional Engineering and Curriculum Reform

E.     The Functional Analysis of Transcripts

F.     Reading, Understanding, and Literacy



See attached Bibliography of Selected Readings in Psycholinguistics/Ethno–semantics. Course requirement includes applied training in ethnosemantics which familiarizes the student with the various available empirical methods usable in a technology of discourse. This work includes the UH Archives of Transcripts, its Access Index Housed by the SocialųPersonality Area unit, and tutorial field work in educational psycholinguistics involving the students of „Psychology 324: Applied Psycholinguistics Laboratory in Social Psychology.š Preųrequisite: graduate and/or advanced undergraduate course in any of the following: Social Psychology, Linguistics, Anthropology or ESL; other students chhck with instructor, first.




2.      Though there are allied interests in Psycholinguistics, each department involved tends to offer its own special outlook. Thus, ESL students tend to take offerings from Linguistics and Psychology; Linguistics students seldom take Psychology courses, while Psychology students take Linguistics and Anthropology but not ESL. The special perspective that Psychology contributes to Psycholinguistics can only come from a course based in the Psychology Department. No such course is now listed, since as explained above, the general seminar reference of Psy 705 was used since 1971, the beginnings in this department of this specialty. Now it is time to officially recognize the nature of the course and to make it accessible to the University community.


3.      This new course will form the Introductory level in the Ph.D. program specialization of Psych-linguistics/Ethnosemantics offered within the Socialų Personality Area of the Psychology Department (see Graduate Catalog). Psychology 075, will be retained as the general seminar designation for advanced, specialized, and variable topics in this specialty. Further, applied training in the specialty for this new course („Psychology 661š) will involve classificatory work on the UH Archives of Transcripts (Housed and Sponsored by the Graduate Program in Social-Personality) and will work tutorially with undergraduate students of „Psychology 324: Applied Psycholinguistics Laboratory in Social Psychology.š (For your information, we are appending a copy of the allied new course proposal, „Psy 324.š)


4.      This new course is to be the Introduction at the graduate level of training in the specialization represented by Psycholinguistics/Ethnosemantics. IT is normally to be followed by a general seminar in specialized and advanced topics under the existing course of őPsy 705.š Preųrequisites involve the requirement that the student already possess a professional orientation towards one of the allied fields in which a technology of discourse is usable: ESL, Education, Clinical Psychology, Linguistics, etc. In this manner, the techniques and methodologies of psycholinguistics/ethnosemantics are kept to a pragmatic involvement. Student work includes readings, presentations, field applications, and tutorials, for 3 credits in all.


5.      This new course is expected to parallel the previous offerings under the general seminar format, or about 15 students on alternate semesters. In such small classes, graduate student work is evaluated through class participation in discussion and presentations, and as well, through individual reports of the student‚s work in connection with particular assignments and projects. These reports must meet publicationųlevel standards in psychology and represent the evidence of the special skills the student has acquired in the course.


6.      To teach this course, an instructor should have special familiarity and research competence in the area of Psycholinguistics, Ethnosemantics, and Ethnomethodology. These are quite obviously specializations needing a particular academic background. Professor James and Dr. Gordon have been in this specialty for over a decade, have published two books and numerous articles in the field, are considered experts with a national reputation. Professor James was brought here in 1971 from the University of Illinois to establish a specialty program in psycholinguistics in the Psychology Department. The course will be taught in alternate semesters.


7.      Graduate specialty courses need special facilities for adequate instruction and training. In this case, the training deals with the nature, recording, and analysis of discourse and text. Some of this material is already available in the form of published texts, transcripts, and cataloguing systems such as the Dewey Decimal System, Roget‚s Thesaurus, Dictionaries, etc. Others are cumulatively added to a data bank housed by the area and known as the UH Archives of Transcripts. Additional facilities are either currently available (e.g., department equipment in audioų and video-records; stopwatches; cardex filing systems), or are being prepared as part of the Department‚ s regular activities of expansion and improvement of instruction. For example, the departmental budget request for equipment expenditures for the next academic year include items specifically earmarked for improving recording capacities (videoųtape equipment, sound mixers, transcribing recorders, etc.). Also, a request has been made to the President‚s Instructional Improvement Fund for facilitating and speeding up the establishment of a cumulative data bank to be known as the UH Archives of Transcripts. Finally, outside research funds are now being sought which will provide research assistantships and further laboratory facilities (e.g., conversation machines and sophisticated recording apparatus).


8.      The subject matter and training to be offered under this new course has been dealt with under the general seminar of Psy 705, given at least on alternate semesters but sometimes more often, since 1971. The average number of students was about 15. Since the Social/Personality Area is expanding regularly (currently it is the largest specialization in the Psychology Department with 11 faculty members), we anticipate enrollments of about 20 if the course were given every other semester. Thus, students could readily follow the 661-705 combination, each being given on the alternate semester. Demand for the course additionally from other departments has been indicated to us by students and faculty in ESL and in Education. Students in other allied fields to the language sciences broadly, have taken the previous seminars and one expected to continue to do so on an increasing basis.




The following list of readings is a  composite of major reading assignments from courses in the psycholinguistics curriculum.


Austin, J.L.  How to do Things with Words.  (Oxford University Press, 1965).


Barker, R.  The Stream of Behavior.  (Appleton, 1963).


*Brown, R.  A First Language:  The Early Stages.  (Cambridge:  Harvard, 1973).


Brown, R.  Psycholinguistics.  (Free Press, 1970).


**Carroll, J.B. and Freedle, R.O. (Eds.)  Language Comprehension and the Acquisition of Knowledge.  (Wily, 1972).


*Chafe, W.L.  Meaning and the Structure of Language.  (University of Chicago Press, 1970).


Chomsky, N.  Language and Mind.  (Harcourt, Barce & World, 1968).


Circourel, A.V.  Cognitive Sociology.  (N.Y.:  Free Press, 1974).


Dale, P.S.  Language Development:  Structure and Function.  (Appleton, 1972).


Douglas, J.D.  Understanding Everyday Life:  Toward the Reconstruction of Sociological Knowledge.  (Aldine, 1970).


Ervin-Tripp, S.M.  Language Acquisition and Communicative Choice.  (Stanford:  Stanford U. Press, 1973).


Garfinkel, H.  Studies in Ethnomethodology.  (Prentice-Hall, 1967).


Goffman, H.  Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.


**Goffman, H.  Relations in Public.  (Harper Colophon Books, 1971).


Gumperz, J.J. and Hymes, H. (Eds.)  Directions in Sociolinguistics.  (Holt, 1972).


*James, L.A.  Foreign Language Learning:  A Psycholinguistic Analysis of the Issues.  (Newbury, 1970).


**James, L.A. and Nahl-James, Diane.  Notes on Ethnosemantics.  (TEC Corporation, 1975).


James, L.A.  The context of Foreign Language Teaching.  (Rowley, Mass.:  Newbury House Publishers, 1974).


James, L.A. and Miron, M.S.  Readings In the Psychology of Language.  (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:  Prentice-Hall, 1967).


Hayes, J.R. (Eds.)  Cognition and the Development of Language.  (Wiley, 1970).


Lenneberg, E.H.  Biological Foundations of Language.  (Wiley, 1967).


Sacks, H., Schegloff, E., and Jefferson, G.A.  A simplest systematic for the organization of turn taking for conversation.  (Language, Vol. 50, No. 4, Pt. L, 1974).


Schegloff, E. and Sacks, H.  Opening up closings.  (Semiotica, Vol. 8, No. 4, 1973, 289-327).


Searle, J.R.  Speech Acts.  (Cambridge University Press, 1969).


Skinner, B.F.  Verbal Behavior.  (Appleton, 1957).


**Steinberg, E. and James, L.A.  Semantics.  (Cambridge University Press, 1971).


**Sudnow, E. (Eds.)  Studies in Social Interaction.  (Free Press, 1972).


*Taylor, Insup.  Introduction to Psycholinguistics.  (N.Y.;  Holt, Rinehard, 1966).


Wilkinson, A.M. (Eds.)  (a) The Context of Language  (b)  The State of Language. (Educational Review, Vol. 22, No. 1 and 3, Nov. 1969 and June 1971.  School of Education . Univ. of Birmingham).


*Note:  The six book marked by a double asterisk constitute a minor in psycholinguistics, for a major, add the references marked by a single asterisk.