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Does Language Production Shape Language Form and Comprehension?

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MacDonald’s Hypothesis and Theory paper, How language production shapes language form and comprehension, is the core of this Topic. MacDonald proposes that language producers are constrained by the nature of memory retrieval, motor planning, and serial order in action planning when they create utterances. The ...

MacDonald’s Hypothesis and Theory paper, How language production shapes language form and comprehension, is the core of this Topic. MacDonald proposes that language producers are constrained by the nature of memory retrieval, motor planning, and serial order in action planning when they create utterances. The implicit production choices they make in honoring these constraints shape the distribution of utterance forms in a language. Language perceivers learn the statistical regularities of the utterances that they hear, which then guide their expectations and facilitate comprehension of utterances that meet these expectations. This paper is followed by a collection of replies, in which researchers critically examine the evidence for and implications of MacDonald’s proposal. The Topic concludes with MacDonald’s response to these analyses.


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