Levelt, W. J. M. (1994). Psycholinguistics. In A. M. Colman (Ed.), Companion Encyclopedia of Psychology: Vol. 1 (pp. 319-337). London: Routledge.
Linguistic skills are primarily tuned to the proper conduct of conversation. The innate ability to converse has provided species with a capacity to share moods, attitudes, and information of almost any kind, to assemble knowledge and skills, to plan coordinated action, to educate its offspring, in short, to create and transmit culture. In conversation the interlocutors are involved in negotiating meaning. Speaking is most complex cognitive-motor skill. It involves the conception of an intention, the selection of information whose expression will make that intention recognizable, the selection of appropriate words, the construction of a syntactic framework, the retrieval of the words’ sound forms, and the computation of an articulatory plan for each word and for the utterance as a whole. The question where communicative intentions come from is a psychodynamic question rather than a psycholinguistic one. Speaking is a form of social action, and it is in the context of action that intentions, goals, and subgoals develop.
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