Introduction

We know more about language comprehension than language production. Why is this so? It is fairly easy to exercise experimental control over material to be comprehended, whereas it is much harder to constrain an individual's production of language. A further problem in accounting for language production (albeit one that is shared with language comprehension) is that more than a theory of language is needed. Language production is basically a goal-directed activity. People speak and write to impart information, to be friendly, and so on. Thus, motivational and social factors need to be considered.

The two major topics considered within this chapter are speech production and writing. More is known about speech production than about writing. Nearly everyone spends more time talking than writing, and so it is of more practical use to understand the processes involved in talking. However, writing is an important skill in contemporary Western society.

This chapter and the two previous ones are concerned with the processes involved in language. There are obviously links between language and thought, but there has been much controversy about their precise relationship. Some relevant issues are considered at the end of this chapter.

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