Speech in public or conversation is guarded, monitored and more careful than the internal soliloquy. I’ve noticed many more deficits internally than in public speech, so many in the internal soliloquy that the mistakes have fallen quickly into the pattern of a handful of categories.

Here’s a numbered list of deficits, both internally silent, aloud alone or in spoken conversation. They are organized by date, followed by the actual quote, with a separate line indicating the intended meaning, and another line with a speculation on either the category of loss or an explanation.

1. 1/19 “He is attracted to her.” (Spoken with uncertainty)

meaning: She likes him.

The ambiguity in agent/patient caused puzzlement and hesitation

2. 1/19 “The actor is the responsible of following the direction.”

meaning: The actor is the responsibility of taking direction, or the actor is responsible for following direction.

adjective for derived noun

3. 1/20 “I completely about it.”

intending: I completely forgot about it.

syncopation of a content verb (these are incredibly common in my unguarded internal soliloquy, less so as I guard my actual, public spoken words)

4. 1/21 “Bill won’t be able to be able to give tours”

meaning: Bill won’t be able to give tours…

pleonastic compound verbal (also frequent especially in internal unguarded moments)

5. 1/21 “I might his…??”

intending: I met his wife

spoonerism conflation of ‘met’ and ‘wife’ (again, quite common internal)

6. 1/21 “…you might that I’m thinking that I’m crazy”

intending: you might think I’m crazy

pleonastic propositional clause

7. 1/22 “sorra Donna” (these phonetic blends, spoonerismsm, word order reversals plague the soliloquy)

intending: sorry Donna

phonetic harmonization? spoonerism? blend?

8. 1/22 “depleted in nutrition”

normally: nutritional depletion

retrieval of underived lexical items

9. 1/22″That’s a cold, forbidding environment for a bug, don’t you?”

meaning: That’s a cold, forbidding environment for a bug, don’t you think?

syncopation and lack of agreement/long distance (shouldn’t agree)

10. 1/22 “…in a little lock”

intending: in a little locker

easier access to the underived lexical item

11. 1/22 “…to tell him about a health problem of his senescent”

intended: senescence

wrong part of speech, oddly preferring a coining adjective, both rare

12. 1/23 “the…”

intending: the Farmers Market

retrieval loss in a compound

13. 1/23 “I felt that when it went by”

intending: “Felt that brush by”

retrieval failure (took about three seconds to find it later)

14. 1/23 “I wouldn’t want attention…physician attention”

intending: wouldn’t want medical attention

retrieval loss of a frequent pair, akin to a compound

— I’ve noticed wide differences between conversations. Last night, with a friend whose conversation rapidly and wildly ranges over quicksilver wit and imagination, I found myself at a loss for occasional the bon mot the occasional bon mot. There just wasn’t time to search the word: “wagging,” instead of shaking a finger, for example. These are not tip-of-the-tongue cases, it’s just searches that  take longer. Tip-of-the-tongue losses often involve a familiar word and can be replaced quickly or immediately with a more arcane synonym or close synonym. But in this conversation, it was just that the rate was too rapid for some searches.

So, I’m figuring that besides the tip-of-the-tongue (tipofthetongue from now on — hyphens are a bum), which is a distinct process that can affect difficulty for even familiar words, there’s also an independent slowing of searches that particularly show up in less familiar words that require more time.

The internal soliloquy is rife with spoonerisms, off prepositions, metatheses and syncopations of words, agent/patient or agent/object confusions, underived lexical items or just wrong part of speech, and, occasionally, pleonasms especially in the verb phrase (“…be able to be able to…”), although I have a sense that pleonasms are more common in actual speech than in internal soliloquy.

The wide difference between internal unguarded and guarded public speech is, then, instructive.

3 Responses to “data”

  1. Dorothy Ross Says:

    This is wonderful data. I don’t know of any journal articles that have an exhaustive listing like the one that you have made. Are you aware of any errors becoming less common or more common?

    • rob Says:

      It’s the same lot of them, over and over and over again! 🙂 Compounds — just today stumbled over “a *white table-cloth* restaurant.” Dozens of wrong parts of speech: secession (n) for secede (v). Agent/patient conflations, metatheses, syncopations; over and over again, especially internally, but also under the gun with unfamiliar conversants. One person today delightfully corrected every word I stumbled at.

      I will, of course, look for increase and decrease. For now it seems a cornucopia of plenty with no sign of depletion. If I had a nickel for every one…

      Sometimes, in a completely unguarded, relaxed, internal moment, it seems as if I can produce just a jumble of underived, uninflected words, without any syntax at all, just the meaning/intent & words — strings of nouns or strings of adjectives, as if the lexicon is just floating from retrieval like escaped from a sinking ship; words welling up to the surface, bobbing randomly, loosed freely and lightly from that strong, tight, bolted, compounded and heavily engineered, but dented and breached hull of grammar that is headed fast to the deep, lost bottom.

      I’d forgotten for at least a week the name of the *Flushing Remonstrance*(flailing around the Flushing Rebuke, Flushing Rejection

  2. rob Says:

    …clipped me off, damned blog!!
    As I was about:
    I’d forgotten for at least a week the name of the Flushing Remonstrance (flailing around the Flushing Rebuke, Flushing Rejection — classic tipofthetongue), the earliest document in North America establishing tolerance for all religions. Found it in a citation about an hour ago and just forgot it again, trying to write this very sentence.

    I’d hope that memory might prod permanently, but maybe it takes a bit more time.

    I will continue with data collection. I’m so glad this list has some value!!

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