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Kids' Slips: What Young Children's Slips of the Tongue Reveal About Language Development

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The study of speech errors, or "slips of the tongue," is a time-honored methodology which serves as a window to the representation and processing of language and has proven to be the most reliable source of data for building theories of speech production planning. However, until Kids' Slips, there has never been a corpus of such errors from children with which to work. This is the first developmental linguistics research volume to document how online processing is revealed in young children, ages 18 months through 5 years, through their slips of the tongue. Thus, this text provides a new methodology and data source, which will greatly expand our ability to uncover the details of early language development. Professor Jaeger's groundbreaking book incorporates both details of her methodology and findings with implications for different aspects of language development, including phonetics and phonology, the lexicon, semantics, morphology, and syntax. While all the child data is included in the book, a Web site hosted by the author provides readers with the adult data as well. Kids' Slips targets those who study language development in linguistics, developmental psychology, and speech and hearing, as well as those who study language representation and processing more generally in the same disciplines.

The seeds of this book were sown in the spring of 1986, when I was having dinner with a colleague whom I had not seen in some time. He asked me what I was working on, and I told him I was studying my daughter Anna's language acquisition longitudinally, and I was particularly interested in her slips of the tongue. He looked at me in surprise, and informed me that it was a well-known fact that children do not make slips of the tongue until they are seven years old, and that this fact was related to brain lateralization. At this point I realized I was onto something. I subsequently sent him a list of 100 of Anna's slips, made between 19 months and 3 years of age, and he wrote back that perhaps this theory about the development of lateralization in the child would have to be reconsidered.

These data were collected between 1983 when Anna made her first slip, through 1992 when Bobby turned 6. The analysis of the data and the writing of the current book occupied the next decade of my professional life. With a project this extensive, there have naturally been a very large number of people who have contributed their ideas, criticism, and enthusiasm, and thus many thanks are in order.
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