Cascading activation from phonological planning to articulatory processes: Evidence from tongue twisters

Matthew Goldrick*, Sheila Blumstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Research into spoken word production has often focused on the interaction of lexical selection processes and phonological planning. Less attention has been given to the relationship between phonological planning and articulatory processes. The current study considers evidence from the tongue-twister paradigm to investigate such potential interactions. Acoustic analyses of various parameters of obstruents voicing in tongue twister productions show that errors induced in tongue twisters leave acoustic "traces" of the intended target. For example, the voice-onset time of "k" → [g] error tokens had a mean VOT that was longer than correctly produced "g" → [g] tokens, reflecting a trace of the voiceless [k] target. This effect is attributed to the cascade of partially activated phonological representations of the target consonant into articulatory processes. Consistent with this account, a post-hoc analysis revealed an additional influence of cascading activation from word-level processes; traces of the target were reduced in word outcomes relative to nonword outcomes. Finally, extension of these analyses to a set of secondary cues to obstruent voicing showed that non-local cues are not influenced by tongue twister production errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-683
Number of pages35
JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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