Skip to content
BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2020

Morphological slips of the tongue

From the book Word Knowledge and Word Usage

  • Thomas Berg


This chapter presents an overview of naturally occurring morphological slips of the tongue. The empirical focus is on German speech errors, but data from other languages are also considered. A classification scheme is devised along five dimensions. In addition to the traditional division of morphology into compounding, derivation, and inflection and the distinction between free and bound morphemes as well as that between prefixes and suffixes, the contrast between contextual and non-contextual influences and the morphological nature of the words in which the error morphemes are embedded take center stage. These five dimensions are shown to affect error rates. In line with linguistic analyses, the distinction between inflection and derivation is not sharply drawn in language processing. Productivity facilitates the occurrence of non-contextual errors. Morphological and phonological processing display significant differences. Whereas phonological processing is mainly a sequencing problem, morphological processing grapples more strongly with issues of selection. Additionally, the selection problem is more acute in inflectional than in derivational morphology.

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
Downloaded on 3.6.2023 from
Scroll to top button