psychic/psychical/psychological

TilAlexandros

Member
Español, Uruguay
Hello everyone,

I'm having trouble trying to distinguish the nuance (if any) in these words' meanings. Whenever I look up "psychic" (as an adjective) in a dictionary, the adjective "psychical" is listed as a possible derivation of the word. There's also psychological, which does share one meaning with "psychic", right? (WR: "of or relating to the mind or mental activity"). What I'd like to know is whether these three words are interchangeable in this context:

"Language is as psychic/psychical/psychological a phenomenon as it is social, thus it needs real world experiences to achieve a much more fruitful development."
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I'm not sure any of those words makes much sense in your sentence, TilAlexandros. If you mean to say that people use language when they think, then I suppose "Language is as mental a phenomenon as it is social" would work, but contrasting "mental" and "social" seems a little odd to me.

    If I wrote this sentence, I'd be looking for simpler, more concrete ways of expressing the idea. Does language need real-world experiences to achieve a more fruitful development? I have my doubts. It might make more sense to claim that people need to have real-world experiences in order to use language well.
     
    Last edited:

    TilAlexandros

    Member
    Español, Uruguay
    You really think so, owlman5? I was so sure these words fit there perfectly...
    I meant to say that language is something that exists and manifests itself both in your mind and in society. Mentally, within your own ability to "store" language in your mind, think with it, use it, etc. And socially, within the daily speaking/writing of the different linguistic communities, as this perpetuates the language in question throughout time. I wanted to make this contrast just to emphasise that there's more to just sitting on a classroom/reading books/etc. (individual activities) when it comes to learning a foreign language, as the whole process requires social experiences to improve your results.

    Maybe it will change things a bit if I provide a wider context:

    "It is a given that reducing language learning solely to your experience in the classroom will prove to be lacking in the end. Language is as psychic/psychical/psychological a phenomenon as it is social, thus it needs real world experiences to achieve a much more fruitful development. This is why it is important for you to be constantly looking for chances to put your language skills into practice outside the classroom."

    I know it's worded in a bit of a complex or roundabout way, but this is how I am expected to write my compositions :(
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi TilAlexandros

    For me, the only option that would fit in your context is "psychological".

    (I don't think I've ever come across "psychical" - indeed, before this thread, I'd have said there was no such word:).)
     

    TilAlexandros

    Member
    Español, Uruguay
    Thanks for your input, Loob. A Google search does indeed agree with you, as "psychological" showed by far the highest number of results.

    I see then, "psychical" isn't very common. Well, I hadn't ever heard of it either until I looked up "psychic" in the dictionary recently. Do you think there is a difference in meaning between both? Maybe "psychical" started to be used due to "psychic" being able to be used as a noun, so we could say things such as "The psychic's psychical research is fascinating", instead of "The psychic's psychic research..." ;) Though I don't know, this is just a silly guess of mine. "Psychological" is there as an alternative so I can't really find a reason for a word such as "psychical" to be used.

    Maybe there's a difference in the context in which both terms are usually employed.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Psychic' is used as a technical term in economics, and is there equivalent to 'psychological' - they might talk about the psychic value of goods. Other than that, it refers to people who pretend they can read the future, converse with the dead, and so on: not something you want in your writing. I've never come across it used to mean 'psychological' outside that one academic field; though admittedly jargon does tend to stray across boundaries.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I agree with Loob that only psychological fits your sentence.

    Psychical is commonly used for research into ESP, the paranormal etc. (psychical research).
     

    a tourist

    New Member
    Hungarian
    hi everyone,

    i found this discussion extremely interesting ... i totally understand that the point is what people reading an expression will envision - and this ... psychological algorithm doesn't necessarily respect science .)
    yet i'd like to propose that what takes place in our psyche should (following a certain logic) be called psychic, and psychological should be kept for describing a quality being related to psychology, the science.
    according to this i'd call a method or an experiment psychological, but an impact or influence i'd refer to as psychic ... and language, i would call a psychic phenomenon ... i mean, i would if i hadn't accepted what you guys have already said about the meanings associated to these words :)

    so, is there, do you think, any logic in this reasoning? and i'll gladly take no as an answer, i'm just really curious :)
     

    a tourist

    New Member
    Hungarian
    okay, i have a counter example: biological, like biological mother :)
    it doesn't have to do with biology ... yet it's the best way to refer to this status, so the same should go for psychological as well ... It was really interesting to think about this though .)
     
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