Phonological regularity, perceptual biases, and the role of grammar in speech error analysis

 

John Alderete, Paul Tupper

 

Abstract: Speech errors involving manipulations of sounds tend to be phonologically regular; they obey the phonotactic rules of well-formed words. We review the empirical evidence for phonological regularity in prior research, including both categorical assessments of words and regularity at the granular level involving specific segments and contexts. Since the reporting of regularity is affected by human perceptual biases, we also document this regularity in a new dataset of 2,228 sub-lexical errors that was collected using methods that are demonstrably less prone to bias. These facts validate the claim that sound errors are overwhelming regular, but the new evidence suggests speech errors admit more phonologically ill-formed words than previously thought. Detailed facts of the phonological structure of errors, including this revised standard, are then related to model assumptions in contemporary theories of phonological encoding. Keywords: speech errors, language production, phonological encoding, phonotactics, perceptual biases, syllable structure

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Full citation: Alderete, John and Paul Tupper. 2017. Phonological regularity, perceptual biases, and the role of grammar in speech error analysis. Manuscript, Simon Fraser University.