Linguistics 105 * Words and Sounds
Lecture Number Sixteen
Speech Errors

  1. Types of Speech Errors

    1. Phonological Substitutions (Only lexemes)

      Error Type Error Target


      John gave the goy a ball

      John gave the boy a ball


      alsho share

      also share

      Feature Substitution:

      tap stobs ([^Voiced])

      tab stops

      Cedars of Lemadon ([^Nasal])

      Cedars of Lebanon

    2. Lexical (Word) Selection Errors (Only lexemes)

      1. Semantically Based Substitution Errors

        1. Antonym Substitution

          • It's too damn hot . . . , I mean, cold in here
          • He rode his bicycle tomorrow (yesterday)
          • All I need is something for my elbows (shoulders)

        2. Synonym Substitution is not perceived as an error:

          • I was starving (ravenous)
          • on the couch (sofa)
          • on the pier (dock)

      2. Phonologically Based Word Substitutions

        • He has a new commuter    (computer)
        • The instructions gave no inclination . . . indication as to how to do it
        • verbal outfit     (output)
        • his immoral soul     (immortal)

      3. Word Substitutions with Morphological Stranding

        • they are Turking talkish (talking Turkish)
        • it waits to pay (pays to wait)
        • you have to square it facely (face it squarely)

      4. Blends (Only lexemes)

        • My stummy hurts (stomach/tummy)
        • There's a dreeze blowing through the room (draft/breeze)
        • It was maistly, ah, mostly his doing (mainly/mostly)
        • At the end of todays lection (lecture/lesson)
        • This is not much of a universary (university/nursery)

      5. General Malapropisms

        • a peckeral     (cockerel)
        • He picked some gutter pups     (butter cups)
        • I'm ravished!     (ravenous!)
        • It's the Chinese who practice Acapulco     (acupuncture)
        • He was concreted     (cremated)

      6. Spoonerisms (Can you figure out the targets?)
        • Work is the curse of the drinking class.
        • You have hissed all the mystery lectures, I saw you fight that liar behind the gymnasium, and, in short, you have tasted the whole worm (Reverend Spooner)

    3. Morphological Errors (Only morphemes)

      1. Morpheme shift
        • I haven't satten down and writ__ it    (I haven't sat down and written it)
        • I had forgot__ aboutten it    (I had forgotten about it)
        • He point__ outed that . . .    (He pointed out that . . .)
        • You __ have to do learn that    (you do have to learn)
        • what that add__ ups to    (adds up to)
        • who could __form at a . . .    (perform at a higher level)

      2. Morpheme substitutions
        • Sometimes I have putten it in . . .    (Sometimes I put- it in . . .)
        • a timeful remark    (timely)
        • By his own admittance    (admission)
        • Where's the fire distinguisher?    (Where's the fire extinguisher?)

    4. Conclusions

      A. Speech errors support our (previously theoretical) determination of the most basic building blocks and rules of language (e.g., syllable structures, morphemic features, phonemes, phonetic features, and phonotactic constraints).

      B. Speech errors reflect a strict distinction between errors affecting lexemes and morphemes, supporting our pure linguistic hypothesis that the two are distinct.

      C. There is also evidence of the Separation Hypothesis

      1. A morpheme must be in its appropriate place (no *money's an aunt), BUT...
      2. A morpheme need not be in place (a(*n) money's aunt)

        Explanation of the conflict: The grammatical function must be present in the appropriate place, i.e. [-Definite], but not the affix (phonological material). Hence abstract categories must be independent of phonological realizations.

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