Speech production according to Levelt's Model: An exampleThis is a featured page

Speech production according to Levelt's Model: An example - psychology of language

The following is the formulation of a simple sentence according to the Levelt model:

Message Generation
From their knowledge in the long term memory, a speaker retrieves the idea that Penguins don’t fly. At the same time, they also retrieve additional stored information about the concept of penguins such as:

Black and white
Lives in the Antartic

Connections will also be made:

Man in evening dress
Ice floe
Book publisher

Preverbal Message
Such information may be useful if the conversation takes off. The preverbal message is Penguins don’t fly. In order to encode the sentence grammatically, we have to retrieve information about the lexical entries for penguin and fly. These entries contain information about the meaning as well as the syntax of the words.

Some possible lexical entries for PENGUIN and FLY:

Concept black/white bird
move (in air) (with wings)
Word Class N V
Grammatical Function Countable (SUBJ + V)
(SUBJ + V + OBJ)
(fly a plane)
Morphology Regular Plural flies -- flying -- flew -- flown

The speaker now forms a syntactic frame of a ‘surface structure’ of the sentence.

Surface Structure
The surface structure might consist of meaning codes for penguin and fly plus syntactic slots which are tagged for ‘plural’, ‘negative’, etc.

NP (plural) + V (plural, neg.)

It is possible that at this point the speaker decides what is the focal or ‘new’ part of the message – the part which will bear sentence stress. In this case, it is likely to be the V.

Phonological Encoding
The sequence suggested by Slip of the Tongue data is as follows:
a. The phonological forms are retrieved from the ‘form’ part of the lexical entry penguin → /peŋgwɪn/ fly →/flaɪ/
b. They are inserted into the surface structure: /peŋgwɪn/ (plural) + /flaɪ/ (negative)
c. Morpho-phonemic details are added /peŋgwɪn/ + /z/ + /dəʊnt/ + /flaɪ/

Now the whole sentence has to be prepared for articulation.

The instructions to the articulators must contain phonetic information. For example, the speaker must aspirate the /p/ in /peŋgwɪn/. There might also be elision to make the string of sounds easier to say: /dəʊnt flaɪ/ → /dəʊn flaɪ/

The speaker says the sentence and makes a slip in the phonological encoding and says fenguins don’t ply instead.

The speaker self-monitors – listening, at a relatively low level of attention, to their own speech. When the slip is heard, the information is fed back into the conceptualiser which can then plan a correction if it is felt necessary.

Reference: Field, J. (2003). Psycholinguistics: A Resource Book for Students. Oxon: Routledge.

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