Cascading activation in phonological planning and articulation: Evidence from spontaneous speech errors

John Alderete*, Melissa Baese-Berk, Keith Leung, Matthew Goldrick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Speaking involves both retrieving the sounds of a word (phonological planning) and realizing these selected sounds in fluid speech (articulation). Recent phonetic research on speech errors has argued that multiple candidate sounds in phonological planning can influence articulation because the pronunciation of mis-selected error sounds is slightly skewed towards unselected target sounds. Yet research to date has only examined these phonetic distortions in experimentally-elicited errors, leaving doubt as to whether they reflect tendencies in spontaneous speech. Here, we analyzed the pronunciation of speech errors of English-speaking adults in natural conversations relative to matched correct words by the same speakers, and found the conjectured phonetic distortions. Comparison of these data with a larger set of experimentally-elicited errors failed to reveal significant differences between the two types of errors. These findings provide ecologically-valid data supporting models that allow for information about multiple planning representations to simultaneously influence speech articulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104577
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Articulation
  • Cascading activation
  • Phonetics
  • Phonological encoding
  • Speech errors
  • Speech production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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