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ashaffer's picture

Grammar and Conscious Speech

I was discussing this topic of learned/inborn speech with my roommate and we were talking about the idea of grammar in spoken vs. written speech. Like the reading indicates in "The Language Instinct," spoken word does not have the same restrictions on it as written word. Runons, fragments, and the like are not discriminated against and are often preferable in verbal communication, but are shunned in papers, books, etc. In thinking of verbal speech, I am interesting in considering the amount of unconsciousness involved in relation to the conscious. Many of the physiological aspects of speech are carried on unbeknownst to the speaker, but how much of it is known to him/her? Do we think about (consciously) opening our mouths, moving our tongues, breathing in rhythm with speech (so as to pause at appropriate times)? Moreover, to what extent do we consider words and word choice before utterance? I'm fairly certain that we would all agree that we have experienced a "slip of the tongue" or saying something unintentionally. Maybe it's just me, but these ideas lead me to wonder about our responsibility for what we say. As we draw conclusions on to what extent we are conscious of our speech and in control of our speech, I think we should also consider what these observations mean.


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