Little houses and casas pequeñas: Message formulation and syntactic form in unscripted speech with speakers of English and Spanish

Sarah Brown-Schmidt, Agnieszka E. Konopka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

During unscripted speech, speakers coordinate the formulation of pre-linguistic messages with the linguistic processes that implement those messages into speech. We examine the process of constructing a contextually appropriate message and interfacing that message with utterance planning in English (the small butterfly) and Spanish (la mariposa pequeña) during an unscripted, interactive task. The coordination of gaze and speech during formulation of these messages is used to evaluate two hypotheses regarding the lower-limit on the size of message planning units, namely whether messages are planned in units isomorphous to entire phrases or units isomorphous to single lexical items. Comparing the planning of fluent pre-nominal adjectives in English and post-nominal adjectives in Spanish showed that size information is added to the message later in Spanish than English, suggesting that speakers can prepare pre-linguistic messages in lexically-sized units. The results also suggest that speakers can use disfluency to coordinate the transition from thought to speech.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-280
Number of pages7
JournalCognition
Volume109
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2008

Keywords

  • Conversation
  • Eye-tracking
  • Language production
  • Message formulation
  • Referential domain
  • Scalar adjective
  • Syntax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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