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Speech Planning and Dynamics


Edited By Susanne Fuchs, Melanie Weirich, Daniel Pape and Pascal Perrier

What do we do when we are about to utter speech? On which linguistic units do we rely? How do these units evolve from childhood to adulthood, or across time for a given language? How do we assemble these units under the influences of syntactic, phonological and prosodic rules? Do we plan the whole sequence at once? Do we plan the movements of the tongue, jaw, and lips underlying speech in the same way that we plan other movements? What tools have scientists developed to investigate these questions using observation of articulatory and acoustic signals? This book addresses these issues in eight chapters. Written by specialists in the field, these chapters provide the readers with a large overview of the literature, and illustrate the research challenges using selected examples of experimental studies.


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Prior to uttering a sentence, the speaker needs to plan it. The planning process is highly complex and consists of at least two tasks, a cognitive- linguistic task and a motor task. The cognitive-linguistic task involves the conceptualization of meaning (What to say?), the framing of mean- ing within the rules of a given language (Which syntax? Which words? Which prosody?), and the selection of phonological units (phonemes, syllables...). The motor task involves planning the spatial and temporal coordination of the speech articulators. Controlling these articulators is complex and is like controlling an orchestra of muscle activations over time, because the resulting movements have to be accurate in space and time to convey linguistic meaning. One of the most influential psycholinguistic models of language pro- duction was proposed by Levelt and colleagues (Levelt, 1989; Levelt et al., 1999). This model describes the cognitive-linguistic components of speech planning in hierarchical layers going from intention to articula- tion. One weakness of Levelt’s model is that it fails to address the impact of the requirements of the motor control system on cognitive-linguistic planning. Smith and Goffman (2004) and Smith (2006) have provided evidence that there are bottom-up influences from the dynamics of the motor control system to the cognitive-linguistic system. This debate is not the primary focus of the book, but it is relevant to certain chapters. The aim of this book is to provide the reader with the latest research in speech planning, from both a cognitive-linguistic and a motor...

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