Frequency Effects in Spanish Phonological Speech Errors: Weak Sources in the Context of Weak Syllables and Words
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Speech errorsFrequency effectPhonological encodingSpanishLanguage production
SponsorshipFunding for open access charge: Universidad de Granada
The present study examines effects of the frequency of phoneme, syllable and word units in the Granada corpus of Spanish phonological speech errors. We computed several measures of phoneme and syllable frequency and selected the most sensitive ones, along with word (lexeme) frequency to compare the frequencies of source, target, and error units at the phoneme, syllable, and word levels. Results showed that phoneme targets have equivalent frequency to matched controls, whereas source phonemes are lower in frequency than chance (the WEAK SOURCE EFFECT ) and than target phonemes (the DAVID EFFECT). Target, source, and error syllables and words also were of lower frequency than chance, and error words (when they occur) were lowest in frequency. Contrary to most current theories, which focus on faulty processing of the target units, present results suggest that faulty processing of the source units (phonemes, syllables and words) is an important factor contributing to phonological speech errors. Low-frequency words and syllables have more difficulty ensuring that their phonemes, especially those of low frequency, are output only in their correct locations.