Preparing words in speech production is normally a fast and accurate process. We generate them two or three per second in fluent conversation; and overtly naming a clear picture of an object can easily be initiated within 600 msec after picture onset. The underlying process, however, is exceedingly complex. The theory reviewed in this target article analyzes this process as staged and feedforward. After a first stage of conceptual preparation, word generation proceeds through lexical selection, morphological and phonological encoding, phonetic (...) encoding, and articulation itself. In addition, the speaker exerts some degree of output control, by monitoring of self-produced internal and overt speech. The core of the theory, ranging from lexical selection to the initiation of phonetic encoding, is captured in a computational model, called WEAVER++. Both the theory and the computational model have been developed in interaction with reaction time experiments, particularly in picture naming or related word production paradigms, with the aim of accounting for the real-time processing in normal word production. A comprehensive review of theory, model, and experiments is presented. The model can handle some of the main observations in the domain of speech errors (the major empirical domain for most other theories of lexical access), and the theory opens new ways of approaching the cerebral organization of speech production by way of high-temporal-resolution imaging. (shrink)
Spontaneous self-corrections in speech pose a communication problem; the speaker must make clear to the listener not only that the original utterance was faulty, but where it was faulty and how the fault is to be corrected. Prosodic marking of corrections - making the prosody of the repair noticeably different from that of the original utterance - offers a resource which the speaker can exploit to provide the listener with such information. A corpus of more than 400 spontaneous speech repairs (...) was analysed, and the prosodic characteristics compared with the syntactic and semantic characteristics of each repair. Prosodic marking showed no relationship at all with the syntactic characteristics of repairs. Instead, marking was associated with certain semantic factors: repairs were marked when the original utterance had been actually erroneous, rather than simply less appropriate than the repair; and repairs tended to be marked more often when the set of items encompassing the error and the repair was small rather than when it was large. These findings lend further weight to the characterization of accent as essentially semantic in function. (shrink)
The commentaries provide a multitude of perspectives on the theory of lexical access presented in our target article. We respond, on the one hand, to criticisms that concern the embeddings of our model in the larger theoretical frameworks of human performance and of a speaker's multiword sentence and discourse generation. These embeddings, we argue, are either already there or naturally forgeable. On the other hand, we reply to a host of theory-internal issues concerning the abstract properties of our feedforward spreading (...) activation model, which functions without the usual cascading, feedback, and inhibitory connections. These issues also concern the concrete stratification in terms of lexical concepts, syntactic lemmas, and morphophonology. Our response stresses the parsimony of our modeling in the light of its substantial empirical coverage. We elaborate its usefulness for neuroimaging and aphasiology and suggest further cross-linguistic extensions of the model. (shrink)
In his paper, MacKay reviews his Node Structure theory of error detection, but precedes it with a critical discussion of the Perceptual Loop theory of self-monitoring proposed in Levelt . The present commentary is concerned with this latter critique and shows that there are more than casual problems with MacKay's argumentation.
A comparison of Merge, a model of comprehension, and WEAVER, a model of production, raises five issues: merging models of comprehension and production necessarily creates feedback; neither model is a comprehensive account of word processing; the models are incomplete in different ways; the models differ in their handling of competition; as opposed to WEAVER, Merge is a model of metalinguistic behavior.
How can one conceive of the neuronal implementation of the processing model we proposed in our target article? In his commentary (Pulvermüller 1999, reprinted here in this issue), Pulvermüller makes various proposals concerning the underlying neural mechanisms and their potential localizations in the brain. These proposals demonstrate the compatibility of our processing model and current neuroscience. We add further evidence on details of localization based on a recent meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies of word production (Indefrey & Levelt 2000). We also (...) express some minor disagreements with respect to Pulvermüller's interpretation of the “lemma” notion, and concerning his neural modeling of phonological code retrieval. Branigan & Pickering discuss important aspects of syntactic encoding, which was not the topic of the target article. We discuss their well-taken proposal that multiple syntactic frames for a single verb lemma are represented as independent nodes, which can be shared with other verbs, such as accounting for syntactic priming in speech production. We also discuss how, in principle, the alternative multiple-frame-multiple-lemma account can be tested empirically. The available evidence does not seem to support that account. Footnotes1 BBS Note: The original manuscript of this Response article was received on January 14, 2000. (shrink)
In modern approaches to phonology a lack of clarity exists on the issue of whether phonetic facts are psychological or physical realities. The results from an experiment suggest that phonetic facts can be considered as psychological realities, but with the restriction that they can take acoustical shape. More specifically, the syntactic material consisted of ambiguous French sentences of the following sort: On a tourné ce film intéressant pour les étudiants. They were spoken in disambiguating contexts, without the readers noticing the (...) ambiguities, and without context, but with the instruction to make a conscious effort to disambiguate. By tape splicing, the contexts were removed from the context-embedded sentences. Twenty-eight native speakers of French listened to the sentences and judged whether one or the other meaning had been intended by the speaker. Subjects performed significantly above chance: 60% correct identifications for context-embedded sentences, 75% for context-free sentences. Pitch-amplitude analyses were made to determine the acoustical differences involved. (shrink)
It is a major move from the claim that the core linguistic problem in Broca's aphasia is the inability to deal with traces, to the claim that this is the syntactic operation only and that it is exclusively supported by Broca's region. Three arguments plead against this move. First, many Broca patients have no damage to Broca's area. Second, it is not only passive, but also active jabberwocky sentences that activate the frontal operculum in a judgment task. Third, the same (...) area is involved in a phrase-building production task that does not require tense processing. (shrink)
This commentary discusses whether abstract metrical frames are stored. For stress-assigning languages (e.g., Dutch and English), which have a dominant stress pattern, metrical frames are stored only for words that deviate from the default stress pattern. The majority of the words in these languages are produced without retrieving any independent syllabic or metrical frame.