Dear Roland Kotz … Koch!" A prankster who thinks evil about this famous lapse by Angela Merkel. Slips of the tongue often give the listeners pleasure, as they leave a lot of room for interpretation. But contrary to popular belief, they usually do not help reveals the speaker's secret thoughts. Rather, the verbal mishaps offer a unique glimpse into the way our language production works. Because the exact process - from thought to vocalization - is far from easily accessible. Most of it eludes us our consciousness and takes place in fractions of a second, slips of the tongue provide a window through which we can look at the various stages of the speaking process. True to the motto: You only realize how something works when it goes wrong.
When we want to send a message, our inner language production system takes a whole bunch of measures. We have to find the right concepts and the corresponding expressions and put everything into an orderly grammatical form, since we mostly speak in sentences. Only then is the plan brought into a phonetic sequence. All in all, the language planning system works extremely error-resistant - slips of the tongue only rarely occur. A linguistic error occurs only every 1000 words, and that at an average speaking speed of three words per second. Many studies on slips of the tongue are based on collections of spontaneous language errors, i.e. natural, non-experimentally generated data. With around 8,000 entries, the "Frankfurter Versprechenerkorpus" is one of the largest such collections in Germany.
The essential insights into the architecture of our language production are based on…