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Branigan & Pickering (B&P) propose that the structural priming paradigm is a Royal Road to linguistic representations of any kind, unobstructed by influences of psychological processes. In my view, however, they are too optimistic about the versatility of the paradigm and, more importantly, its ability to provide direct evidence about the nature of stored linguistic representations.
Many authors have recently highlighted the importance of prediction for language comprehension. Pickering & Garrod (P&G) are the first to propose a central role for prediction in language production. This is an intriguing idea, but it is not clear what it means for speakers to predict their own utterances, and how prediction during production can be empirically distinguished from production proper.
The present study investigated whether Short Message Service shortcuts are more difficult to process in sentence context than the spelled-out word equivalent and, if so, how any additional processing difficulty arises. Twenty-four student participants read 37 Short Message Service shortcuts and word equivalents embedded in semantically plausible and implausible contexts (e.g., He left/drank u/you a note) while their eye movements were recorded. There were effects of plausibility and spelling on early measures of processing difficulty (first fixation durations, gaze durations, skipping, and first-pass regression rates for the targets), but there were no interactions of plausibility and spelling. Late measures of processing difficulty (second run gaze duration and total fixation duration) were only affected by plausibility but not by spelling. These results suggest that shortcuts are harder to recognize, but that, once recognized, they are integrated into the sentence context as easily as ordinary words.
How can one conceive of the neuronal implementation of the processing model we proposed in our target article? In his commentary (Pulvermüller 1999, reprinted here in this issue), Pulvermüller makes various proposals concerning the underlying neural mechanisms and their potential localizations in the brain. These proposals demonstrate the compatibility of our processing model and current neuroscience. We add further evidence on details of localization based on a recent meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies of word production (Indefrey & Levelt 2000). We also express some minor disagreements with respect to Pulvermüller's interpretation of the “lemma” notion, and concerning his neural modeling of phonological code retrieval. Branigan & Pickering discuss important aspects of syntactic encoding, which was not the topic of the target article. We discuss their well-taken proposal that multiple syntactic frames for a single verb lemma are represented as independent nodes, which can be shared with other verbs, such as accounting for syntactic priming in speech production. We also discuss how, in principle, the alternative multiple-frame-multiple-lemma account can be tested empirically. The available evidence does not seem to support that account.
A comparison of Merge, a model of comprehension, and WEAVER, a model of production, raises five issues: (1) merging models of comprehension and production necessarily creates feedback; (2) neither model is a comprehensive account of word processing; (3) the models are incomplete in different ways; (4) the models differ in their handling of competition; (5) as opposed to WEAVER, Merge is a model of metalinguistic behavior.
The commentaries provide a multitude of perspectives on the
theory of lexical access presented in our target article. We respond,
on the one hand, to criticisms that concern the embeddings of our
model in the larger theoretical frameworks of human performance
and of a speaker's multiword sentence and discourse generation.
These embeddings, we argue, are either already there or naturally
forgeable. On the other hand, we reply to a host of theory-internal
issues concerning the abstract properties of our feedforward spreading
activation model, which functions without the usual cascading,
feedback, and inhibitory connections. These issues also concern
the concrete stratification in terms of lexical concepts, syntactic
lemmas, and morphophonology. Our response stresses the parsimony
of our modeling in the light of its substantial empirical coverage.
We elaborate its usefulness for neuroimaging and aphasiology and
suggest further cross-linguistic extensions of the model.
Preparing words in speech production is normally a fast and
accurate process. We generate them two or three per second in fluent
conversation; and overtly naming a clear picture of an object can
easily be initiated within 600 msec after picture onset. The
underlying process, however, is exceedingly complex. The theory
reviewed in this target article analyzes this process as staged and
feedforward. After a first stage of conceptual preparation, word
generation proceeds through lexical selection, morphological and
phonological encoding, phonetic encoding, and articulation itself. In
addition, the speaker exerts some degree of output control, by
monitoring of self-produced internal and overt speech. The core
of the theory, ranging from lexical selection to the initiation of
phonetic encoding, is captured in a computational model, called
weaver++. Both the theory and the computational
model have been developed in interaction with reaction time
experiments, particularly in picture naming or related word production
paradigms, with the aim of accounting for the real-time processing in
normal word production. A comprehensive review of theory, model, and
experiments is presented. The model can handle some of the main
observations in the domain of speech errors (the major empirical
domain for most other theories of lexical access), and the theory
opens new ways of approaching the cerebral organization of speech
production by way of high-temporal-resolution imaging.
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