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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Nov 6;98(23):13464-71.

Spoken word production: a theory of lexical access.

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Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, P.O. Box 310, 6500 AH, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


A core operation in speech production is the preparation of words from a semantic base. The theory of lexical access reviewed in this article covers a sequence of processing stages beginning with the speaker's focusing on a target concept and ending with the initiation of articulation. The initial stages of preparation are concerned with lexical selection, which is zooming in on the appropriate lexical item in the mental lexicon. The following stages concern form encoding, i.e., retrieving a word's morphemic phonological codes, syllabifying the word, and accessing the corresponding articulatory gestures. The theory is based on chronometric measurements of spoken word production, obtained, for instance, in picture-naming tasks. The theory is largely computationally implemented. It provides a handle on the analysis of multiword utterance production as well as a guide to the analysis and design of neuroimaging studies of spoken utterance production.

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