Syntactically speaking
Kathryn Bock
Speakers build syntax when they talk. They do it in almost every utterance, at daunting rates of speed, with little outright error. What they do and the limits on what they do are the province of theory and research on language production. In contemporary work, particularly in work on the mechanisms of syntax, production is viewed as a species of cognitive and linguistic processing that guides learning and intelligent action. Ongoing debates range over questions about the mapping from features of speaker meaning to sentence structure, the coordination of words and syntax, the roles of attention and memory in word order, the links between structural representation and structural assembly, and the nature of syntactic errors. Even the cortical underpinnings for producing syntax are beginning to be explored with innovative brain imaging techniques. Significantly, the emerging picture has begun to converge with fundamental issues in language comprehension and acquisition, offering insights into what it takes to use language for communication. These insights provide the focus for this upcoming episode of language production.

The dynamics of lexical access during language production: a swinging lexical network account
Rasha Abdel Rahman
During language production we co-activate different aspects of meaning and different semantic alternatives of the intended message. I will discuss theoretical assumptions regarding the consequences of this co-activation of alternative meanings on lexical selection and propose a swinging network to account for context effects in semantics. The swinging network integrates dynamic adaptations of facilitatory and inhibitory influences at the conceptual and lexical level. I will discuss a number of behavioral and electrophysiological studies exploring the nature and time course of conceptual and lexical processing that suggest that lexical selection is competitive and that the co-activation of meaning alternatives can be shaped by adaptations to context and formations of ad-hoc semantic links beyond the classic hard-wired semantic relations such as category membership. I conclude that lexical access during language production is characterized by competition from meaning alternatives and shaped by flexible adaptations to context.