Language production

Language Use and
BCS 261
LIN 241
PSY 261
Clarification for Midterm
We read several studies that investigated some of the choices
that speakers make during production. Describe three factors
that influence one of these choices, making it clear what
choice each is relevant to. You may want to consider the
following papers for this question: Schober & Clark, Brennan,
Snedeker et al., Branigan et al.
Big question: what is the production system like?
How do we retrieve words? (Dell)
How do speakers make prosodic choices? (Snedeker et al.)
How do speakers make choices about the grammatical form of
the utterance? (Branigan et al.)
How do speakers choose an expression to refer to something?
(Schober & Clark; Brennan).
Language production
Choose Words
Put them together into phrases
Choose proper inflection
 Put in order
 Prosodic choices
Pronounce the utterance
How do speakers put words
together into utterances?
Message (nonlinguistic)
Grammatical processing
Functional processing
Lemma selection (word selection)
 Assign grammatical roles (subj, obj, etc. )
Positional processing
happen here
 Lexical retrieval (includes phonological info)
 Constituent assembly
happen here
Phonological encoding
How do speakers assemble
the constituents of their
A lot is determined by the message
E.g., John runs.
But speakers have many choices
Active/ Passive
I see you.
 You are seen by me.
Dative alternation -- same meaning, diff. form
I give you the book
 I give the book to you.
Discussion Questions
1.) How is sentence form so important here
when in previous articles people tend to focus
more on the meaning and content of
sentences? (Jessica DeSisto)
When Branigan states that the experiment
demonstrates co-ordination based on form
rather than meaning what does she mean?
Choice of Syntactic Structure
People tend to repeat structures
I gave John the book.
 I sold my neighbor my old lawnmower.
Effect is not dependent on lexical items
being repeated
This means that there is a representation
of the syntactic structure itself (or the
relations inherent in the structure)
Priming effects can last hours or days (cf.
J. Blake and A. Shook’s Qs)
Additional considerations
Speakers tend to produce more accessible
things earlier in an utterance
“topical” things tend to come earlier (Cf
Brennan’s finding that centers are produced
as subject)
 Accessible words come earlier
Light tends to precede heavy
I gave my sixteen great-grand-nieces in
California a call.
 I gave a call to my sixteen….
Research Question
Does priming also occur BETWEEN speakers?
(not just within the same speaker)
Bears on two larger questions
What kinds of representations are used for language
production and comprehension? I.e., do they share
representations at some level?
What are the mechanisms involved in the
coordination of common ground? Do they require
active consideration of your interlocutor’s needs?
--> Jesse Blake’s presentation
Discussion Questions
When speakers co-ordinate their dialogue does
the common ground change and accumulate
utterance by utterance or does it remain
constant throughout the conversation? (MR)
They say that their findings have
methodological implications. Is it possible
that their use of confederate scripting and
picture matching is the reason they got the
surprising results they did? (Jessica DeSisto)
The results indicate that the priming effect was
stronger when the verb remained the same in
the prime and target conditions. Might the
priming effect have be altered had another part
of speech (such as an adjective) been changed
in the different conditions? (Beth Riina)
With the verb-same condition, there seemed to
be a greater effect. Could this be due to a
slight recency effect of the phrasing? It seems
to me that it might result in a small priming
effect. (Anthony Shook)
Would the same effects be observed in a
signed language discourse? (Beth Riina)
Is it possible that syntactic priming is
something left over from the initial stages of
language acquisition wherein children often
repeat back what is said to them? Why or why
not? (Nicole Dobrowolski)
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