The p-chain: Relating sentence production and its disorders to comprehension and acquisition

Gary S. Dell, Franklin Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article introduces the P-chain, an emerging framework for theory in psycholinguistics that unifies research on comprehension, production and acquisition. The framework proposes that language processing involves incremental prediction, which is carried out by the production system. Prediction necessarily leads to prediction error, which drives learning, including both adaptive adjustment to the mature language processing system as well as language acquisition. To illustrate the P-chain, we review the Dual-path model of sentence production, a connectionist model that explains structural priming in production and a number of facts about language acquisition. The potential of this and related models for explaining acquired and developmental disorders of sentence production is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20120394
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1634
StatePublished - Jan 19 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Aphasia
  • Connectionist models
  • Prediction
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Sentence production
  • Specific language impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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