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J Psycholinguist Res. 2007 Mar;36(2):107-57.

A cross-linguistic speech error investigation of functional complexity.

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  • 1Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403-0001, USA.


This work is a systematic, cross-linguistic examination of speech errors in English, Hindi, Japanese, Spanish and Turkish. It first describes a methodology for the generation of parallel corpora of error data, then uses these data to examine three general hypotheses about the relationship between language structure and the speech production system. All of the following hypotheses were supported by the data. Languages are equally complex. No overall differences were found in the numbers of errors made by speakers of the five languages in the study. Languages are processed in similar ways. English-based generalizations about language production were tested to see to what extent they would hold true across languages. It was found that, to a large degree, languages follow similar patterns. However, the relative numbers of phonological anticipations and perseverations in other languages did not follow the English pattern. Languages differ in that speech errors tend to cluster around loci of complexity within each language. Languages such as Turkish and Spanish, which have more inflectional morphology, exhibit more errors involving inflected forms, while languages such as Japanese, with rich systems of closed-class forms, tend to have more errors involving closed-class items.

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