Language Production Eva M. Fernández



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Language Production

  • Eva M. Fernández

  • Queens College & Graduate Center

  • CUNY


Second Week, Proposed Schedule

  • Segunda-feira: PRODUCTION

  • Terça-feira: PERCEPTION

  • Quarta-feira: METHODS

  • Quinta- e Sexta-feira: BILINGUALS



General Domain of Psycholinguistics

  • How does linguistic competence develop?

  • How is linguistic competence used, in real time?

  • Linguistic performance:

    • language acquisition
    • language processing
      •  production
      •  perception


Language Is…



Language Is…



A Model of Speech Production



Evidence for this Model?

  • The model seems to indicate there’s a time-course of processes in sentence production:

    • some come earlier, others later
  • Do people plan their speech before they speak? (despite the fact that they may not plan their ideas)

  • Does this take long?

  • Speech error corpora

  • Inducing tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) states

  • Eliciting production



Two Landmark Historical Pieces

  • Al Kitaab (~12th Century), Arab scholar

    • Errors of the Populace
    • analysis of production errors, to demonstrate phenomena in diachronic language change
  • Sigmund Freud, Vienese psychoanalyst

    • The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901)
    • “lapsus linguae” (slips of the tongue), “lapsus calami” (slips of the pen), or in general, “Fehleistung” (= faulty action, “parapraxis”, “Freudian slip”)
    • repressed emotions cause errors (id over ego)


Freudian Slips: Examples

  • President of the Austrian Parliament says: “I take notice that a full quorum of members is present and herewith declare the sitting closed!”

  • Hotel boy knocks at bishop’s door, bishop says “Who is it?” and boy nervously replies: “The Lord, my boy!”

  • Member of the House of Commons refers to another honorable member as “Central Hell” (rather than “Hull”)

  • Professor says: “In the case of the female genital, in spite of the tempting… I mean, the attempted…”

  • Lady of well-determined character says: “My husband asked his doctor what sort of diet ought to be provided for him. But the doctor said he needed no special diet, he could eat and drink whatever I choose.”



Malapropismsspeech errors

  • Mrs. Malaprop, a character in Sheridan’s The Rivals (1775)

    • using words “mal à propos” (= out of place)
    • “She’s as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the nile.” (alligator)
    • “Comparisons are odorous.” (odious)
    • “He is the very pineapple of politeness.” (pinnacle)
    • “I want to remind you all that in order to fight and win the war, it requires an expenditure of money that is commiserate with keeping a promise to our troops to make sure that they’re well-paid, well-trained, well equipped” (comensurate)
    • “Even Napoleon had his Watergate!” (Nixon or Waterloo)


Code-switches & borrowings speech errors

  • “Llegó el big chief.”

  • “Estaba training para pelear.”

  • “Vivo en ese building, el del rufo verde.”

  • “¿Vamos a lonchar?”

  • “Está flipando.”

  • “Quiere correr para mayor.”

  • “Se manchó la carpeta.”



Spoonerisms speech errors

  • Reverend Spooner, 19th Cent Oxford professor

    • Work is the curse of the drinking classes!” (drink… working)
    • “… queer old dean…” (dear old queen, i.e., Queen Victoria)
    • “… noble tons of soil…” (sons of toil)
    • “You have tasted the whole worm.” (wasted term)
    • “I have in my bosom a half-warmed fish” (half-formed wish)


Why do People’s Tongues Slip?

  • Freud:

    • slips of the tongue, and other such phenomena: caused by repressed emotions
  • More modern approaches:

    • things go wrong at one or another phase as the representation is built, during language production


Collecting Data on Speech Errors

  • Corpora, built up by annotated observed errors

    • even you can do this: write down what the speaker said and as much context as possible, as well as what the speaker meant to say
  • Sometimes, induced in lab:

    • I say fuzzy, you say duck experiment
    • “bias + target pairs” paradigm
    • “flip Ns in NP” paradigm


Three Broad Categories

  • PERSEVERATION

  • ANTICIPATION

  • EXCHANGE

  • Useful hint: in the next three slides, check the direction of the arrow, which points to the location of the error.



PERSEVERATION

  • an earlier segment/word perseveres…

    • I can’t cook worth a cam.


ANTICIPATORY

  • intrusion of a segment/word that’s coming up, that’s being anticipated

    • taddle tennis leading list
    • leaders of Lebanon


EXCHANGE

  • switch of two segments/words

    • hass or grash
    • you have tasted the whole worm


What’s persevering, being anticipated, being exchanged?



Speech Errors: Constrained

  • Certain things just don’t happen.

    • Why not?
    • What constrains the behavior?
  • Impossible forms never created:

    • no error ever violates phonotactic constraints
    • no error ever violates phonological / morphological rules
      • slips of the tongue tips of the slung
      • * tlips of the sung


More Constraints

  • Similar elements are always involved in substitutions and exchanges:

    • C’s & V’s don’t exchange, but C’s & C’s do, so do V’s & V’s
    • Content & Content words, yes; Content & Function words, no!
  • Large majority of errors occur within clauses:

    • This suggests speech is planned / organized in clause-sized bundles


More Constraints

  • Errors respect syntactic structure

    • There’s an island on the small restaurant
    • (Intended: There’s a small restaurant on the island)
    • (Never: There’s island restaurant on the a small)
    • Exchange involved NPs, not just Ns
  • Resulting sentences are always grammatical!



Details of When Rules Apply

  • Consider the following error:

      • You ordered up ending
      • (Intended: You ended up ordering)
      • (And never: You ordering up ended)
    • -ing morpheme didn’t move up with order: why not?
    • morphemes are perhaps part of the derivation, by themselves?
    • morphemes get “stranded”


More Such Examples

  • We roasted a cook

  • (Intended: We cooked a roast)

  • If you give the nipple an infant…

  • (Intended: If you give the infant a nipple…)

  • You have a lot of churches in our minister.

  • (Intended: You have a lot of ministers in our church.)



And Yet More Examples

  • Esas bocas no han salido de mi palabra.

  • (Intended: Esas palabras no han salido de mi boca.)

  • No quiero que crea.

  • (Intended: No creo que quiera.)

  • Las manecillas sin reloj…

  • (Intended: El reloj sin manecillas.)



Stress (and Sentence-Level Prosody)

  • Sentence-level stress is applied based on the structure of the clause (it’s not just something associated with a particular lexical item), so… stress won’t move with lexical exchange error:

  • When the PAPER hits the story…

  • Intended: When the STORY hits the paper…

  • (Never: When the paper hits the STORY…)

  • Stop beating your BRICK against a head wall

  • Intended: Stop beating your HEAD against a brick wall

  • (Never: Stop beating your brick against a HEAD wall)



Speech Errors: Constrained

  • Errors never generate impossible forms or ungrammatical sentences

    • Phonotactic constraints are always obeyed
    • Syntactic constraints are never violated / syntactic structure is never misconfigured
  • Errors typically involve similar elements (same lexical category, same segmental category)

  • Errors usually occur within a clause

  • Errors offer interesting data regarding the steps (“modules”) involved in planning speech



Inducing Freudian Slips

  • Motley (1980): bias / target word-pair reading task

  • e.g.: dart board, dust bin, duck bill barn door darn bore

  • 10-15% errors produced on target pairs

  • errors more likely if:

    • results are real words: barn door darn bore (cf. born dancer dorn bancer)
    • phonologically similar target words ( vowels): left hemisphere heft lemisphere (cf. right hemisphere hight remisphere)
  • manipulations of context: electrical / sexual

    • shad bock bad shock
    • tool kits


LEXICAL RETRIEVAL

  • “Security is the essential roadblock to achieving the road map to peace.” (GWB, Washington, DC, July 25, 2003)

  • “The law I sign today directs new funds and new focus to the task of collecting vital intelligence on terrorist threats and on weapons of mass production.” (GWB, Washington, DC, November 27, 2002)

  • Source: The Complete Bushisms, Jacob Weisberg, http://slate.msn.com/id/76886/



Among the Many Words You Know…

  • How do you go about selecting the ones you wind up using in your sentences?

  • How is a lexical item retrieved?

    • FORM & MEANING… and FREQUENCY
    • SPEAKER v. HEARER
      • speaker uses meaning to retrieve words, but does form ever help choose?
      • uses form to retrieve words, but does meaning ever bias?


How is the Lexicon Organized?

  • Frequency

  • Meaning: close meaning associates to a word are stored nearby

    • I hate… uh, I meant LOVE… dancing with you!
    • I just feel like whipped cream and mushrooms
    • (strawberries)
    • All I want is something for my shoulders
    • (elbows)
  • Sound / Form: words with similar form are also stored nearby

  • If you can find a gargle around the house…

  • (garlic)



How is the Lexicon Organized? In addition to frequency…

  • …this restaurant hasn’t been awake very long

  • (open)

  • Put the oven on at a very low speed.

  • (temperature)

  • The picture of the whale from Jaws

  • (shark)

  • Don’t forget to wash your head tonight.

  • (hair)

  • You’ll earn her eternal grapefruit.

  • (gratitude)

  • I give you my undevoted attention.

  • (undivided)



How is the Lexicon Organized? Evidence: TOT States

  • TOT: Tip of the Tongue

    • You know the word you need, but you can’t quite get it…
    • But you always know something about it:
      • number of syllables
      • initial or final sounds/letters
      • location of primary stress
    • What’s the item on the right?


A Model of Speech Production



What about features?

  • Null hypothesis: retrieval and assignment of inflections is the same for all sorts of inflectional features

  • Gender and number agreement errors in Spanish

    • Su rendimiento en esta prueba no está asociada con...
    • Es el que más pinto… más pinta de chino tiene.
    • Lleva once años casados con…
    • A tan sólo unos centenares de metro…
  • Igoa, J. M., García-Albea, J. E., & Sánchez-Casas, R. (1999). Gender-number dissociations in sentence production in Spanish. Rivista di Linguistica, 11.1, 163-196.



Agreement in Spanish

  • “person” and “number” in agreement relations between a verb and its subject

    • La niña ha comido pan.
    • Las niñas han comido pan.
  • “gender” and “number” in agreement relations between a noun and (i) the constituents within the NP or (ii) an adjunct predicate of the NP

    • La profesora alemana
    • Las profesoras alemanas
    • El niño jugaba contento.
    • Los niños jugaban contentos.


Levels of Representation

  • morphological (inflectional suffixes):

    • -a (gender)
    • -s (number)
  • syntactic

    • gender/number marking of “agreeing” constituents
  • conceptual/semantic:

    • sex (gender)
    • numerosity / notional number (number)


A Difference in Representation

  • GENDER: can be determined by the semantics of words, or by their morphology

      • mujer / hombre
      • silla / zapato
    • it must be lexically specified (for nouns)!
    • it is arbitrary
  • NUMBER: not predictable from the semantics of phrases, or of words

      • Abunda el polvo en mi apartamento.
      • La policía llegó.
      • Todo el mundo es bueno.
    • it isn’t lexically specified!


A Typology for Spanish Gender

  • Elías-Cintrón (1994)



A Typology for Spanish Number



Gender & Number: Same Processing Loci?

  • Null hypothesis: retrieval and assignment of inflections is the same for all sorts of inflectional features

  • Dissociation hypothesis: gender features are retrieved and assigned from lemmas, while number features are independently assigned to lemmas and later to word forms through phrase structure building operations



Corpus Analysis Data

  • 725 errors involving gender and number (from Corpus of Spanish Slips of the Tongue, Del Viso et al., 1987)

    • SUBSTITUTIONS
    • EXCHANGES
    • MOVEMENT ERRORS WITH “STRANDING”
    • NONCONTEXTUAL ERRORS


Substitutions

  • Gender

    • Feminine for masculine
      • Su rendimiento en esta prueba no está asociada con…
    • Masculine for feminine
      • Es el que más pinto de chino tiene
  • Number

    • Plural for singular
      • Lleva once años casados con…
    • Singular for plural
      • A tan sólo unos centenares de metro…


Exchanges

  • Gender

      • He cantado líneo y binga. (línea y bingo)
  • Number

      • Y pagamos a media las cuotas. (a medias la cuota)


Movement Errors with Stranding

  • Gender

      • Una cuera de suelo (Una suela de cuero)
  • Number

      • Esas bocas no han salido de mi palabra. (Esas palabras no han salido de mi boca.)


Noncontextual Errors

  • Form-based word substitutions

      • Hay dos apóstoles. (epístolas)
  • Meaning-based word substitutions

      • Toma sólo tres tenedores. (cucharadas)
  • Context-based word substitutions

      • El estómago de las uñas. (rumiantes)
  • Word blends

      • Hubo un confrontamiento. (confrontación/enfrentamiento)


Corpus Analysis: Results



Corpus Analysis: Results



Elicited Production Experiment

  • To induce stranding of gender / number inflections

  • Three manipulations:

    • mismatch, types of gender, plausibility
  • Procedure:

    •  una niña de los gatos
    •  unos gatos de la niña (no stranding)
    •  unas gatas del niño (gender stranding)
    •  un gato de las niñas (number stranding)
    •  una gata de los niños (gender + number)


Three Manipulations

  • MISMATCH GDR NMBR

    • un hermano del abogado  
    • un hermano de la abogada  
    • un hermano de los abogados  
    • un hermano de las abogadas  
  • GENDER TYPE MRPH SYNT SEM

    • A: el niño / la niña   
    • B: el amante / la amante  
    • D: el libro / la libra
  • PLAUSIBILITY

    • Plausible: una prima de la camarera
    • Implausible: una camarera de la prima


Elicited Production: Results



Elicited Production: Results



Elicited Production: Results



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