Stages of lexical access in language production

Gary S. Dell, Padraig G. O'Seaghdha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe two primary stages in the top-down process of lexical access in production, a stage of lemma access in which words are retrieved as syntactic-semantic entities, and a stage of phonological access in which the forms of the words are fleshed out. We suggest a reconciliation of modular and interactive accounts of these stages whereby modularity is traceable to the action of discrete linguistic rule systems, but interaction arises in the lexical network on which these rules operate. We also discuss the time-course of lexical access in multi-word utterances. We report some initial production priming explorations that support the hypothesis that lemmas are buffered in longer utterances before they are phonologically specified. Because such techniques provide a relatively direct way of assessing activation at the primary stages of lexical access they are an important new resource for the study of language production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-314
Number of pages28
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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