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Content and Structure in Sentence Production

Insup Taylor

Subjects were asked to produce sentences using given topic words.  Content was manipulated by varying levels of difficulty of the topics selected.  Latencies and various types of hesitations were recorded.   Latency, which is assumed to reflect preprocessing, was examined as a function of topic difficulty, sentence length, structural complexity, and types of sentences produced.   Levels of difficulty of the topics, but not structural encoding operations, sentence length, or sentence types affected latency.  Based on the findings, a tentative working model of sentence production is proposed with emphasis more on content than on structure.  Content is conceptualized in differing degrees, perhaps in the form of a concise central idea. and stored in short-term memory (STM).  In the process of speaking, the rest of the sentence is fitted in around the conceptualized content retrieved from STM.  Structure serves as a container of content, and is more or less automatically produced to suit a particular content.
Taylor, I. 1969 Content and Structure in Sentence Production. In Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 8/??: 170-175.

Key points relevant to the study of filled pauses


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