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The ability to speak: from intentions to spoken words

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 July 2009


In recent decades, psychologists have become increasingly interested in our ability to speak. This paper sketches the present theoretical perspective on this most complex skill of homo sapiens. The generation of fluent speech is based on the interaction of various processing components. These mechanisms are highly specialized, dedicated to performing specific subroutines, such as retrieving appropriate words, generating morpho-syntactic structure, computing the phonological target shape of syllables, words, phrases and whole utterances, and creating and executing articulatory programmes. As in any complex skill, there is a self-monitoring mechanism that checks the output. These component processes are targets of increasingly sophisticated experimental research, of which this paper presents a few salient examples.

Research Article
Copyright © Academia Europaea 1995

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