Minding the clock

Kathryn Bock, David E. Irwin, Douglas J. Davidson, W. J.M. Levelt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Telling time is an exercise in coordinating language production with visual perception. By coupling different ways of saying times with different ways of seeing them, the performance of time-telling can be used to track cognitive transformations from visual to verbal information in connected speech. To accomplish this, we used eyetracking measures along with measures of speech timing during the production of time expressions. Our findings suggest that an effective interface between what has been seen and what is to be said can be constructed within 300 ms. This interface underpins a preverbal plan or message that appears to guide a comparatively slow, strongly incremental formulation of phrases. The results begin to trace the divide between seeing and saying - or thinking and speaking - that must be bridged during the creation of even the most prosaic utterances of a language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-685
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2003


  • Eyetracking
  • Idioms
  • Incrementality
  • Language production
  • Naming
  • Time-telling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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