Standard Article

Language Comprehension

  1. Charles Clifton Jr.,
  2. Jane Ashby

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0493

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Clifton, C. and Ashby, J. 2010. Language Comprehension. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The ability to comprehend language comprises a fascinating collection of uniquely human skills. These include our ability to recognize speech and read words, our ability to understand sentences by combining the meanings of the words they contain, and our ability to relate the meanings of sentences to one another in texts, to our beliefs, and to the world around us. We exercise these skills quickly and seemingly effortlessly, but in doing so we use an immense amount of information about the structure of our language, the structure of our recent discourse, and the state of the world.


  • reading;
  • listening;
  • grammar;
  • discourse;
  • meaning;
  • language;
  • comprehension