Speech Errors

Homework #3, Ling/Psych 371

After the mid-term, we will be discussing speech errors. Over the next couple of weeks, please keep your ears open for any speech production or perception errors you may encounter (examples of both types of errors are provided below). You may collect as many errors as you like; you will be asked to provide an analysis of them for a homework assignment (due date to be announced). If your native language is not English, you may use either English or your native language. If you do choose a language that is not English, please see me so that we can work out a transcription system (if it is a language that I don’t know).

Speech errors fall into two basic categories: production errors and perception errors. For a speech production error, give the intended utterance, if possible. For a speech perception error, give what was actually said and what was actually heard. Examples of each type of error are given below for you to use as guidelines. If you have any questions, please ask!

Note: Do not copy speech errors off the web or take them from any other source. You are meant to collect these "in nature".

Speech Production Errors

A speech production error occurs when you say something different than you intended. Some examples are given below. The intended utterance (what the person meant to say) is to the left of the arrow, the actual utterance (what came out of the person's mouth) is to the right of the arrow (examples collected by V. Fromkin, UCLA, and by L.M., OSU).


I went to Betsy’s baby shower yesterday ---> I went to baby’s Betsy shower yesterday.

Does it sound different? ---> Does it hear different?

...if he swam in the pool... ---> ...if he swimmed in the pool...

instantaneous/momentary ---> momentaneous

emergency cardiac ---> emerdiac

Are my tires touching the curb? ---> Are my legs touching the curb?

bird watching ---> word botching

clear blue sky ---> glear plue sky

weak and feeble ---> feak and weeble

That money might be better spent elsewhere. ---> That money might be better spelt


What kind of factors did we find... ---> What kind of factors do we found...



Speech Perception Errors

Speech perception errors occur when a person hears something different than what is actually said. For example, my friend Margaret once thought she heard a song lyric as "...you are my fudge pie..." when what was really being sung was "...you are a butterfly..." Other examples are given below. This time, the actual utterance (what was said) is to the left of the semi-colon, and what was heard is to the right.


Said: Heard:


from a CCR song:

There's a bad moon on the rise... ; There's a bathroom on the right...

from a Rolling Stones song:

I'll never be your beast of burden... ; I'll never be your pizza burnin'...

I'm going to go brush my teeth. ; I'm going to flash my teeth.

Do we have any bay leaves? ; Do we have any Bailey’s?