Lecturer's Précis - Morton (1964)

"A Preliminary Functional Model for Language Behaviour"

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First published online 08:35 BST 1st May 2002, Copyright Derek J. Smith (Chartered Engineer). This version [HT.1 - transfer of copyright] dated 18:00 14th January 2010

An earlier version of this material appeared in Smith (1997; Chapter 5). It is repeated here in simplified form and supported with hyperlinks.

 

Morton (1964)

See firstly the supporting commentary for this material.

  

Morton's (1964) Pre-Logogen Model: Here is Morton's (1964) model of the modular layout of the cognitive processes involved in language. The central proposition is the mental dictionary (pink box, centre). This contains storage units for all the words in the vocabulary of the person concerned, but four factors may individually or in combination influence the selection of a given word. From left to right across the top of the diagram, these are .....

·         confrontational sensory input of written words, via the visual input pathway.

·         confrontational sensory input of spoken words, via the auditory input pathway.

·         whatever else is (or has recently been) going on in the person's mind, via the sentence context pathway.

  • conscious selection, via the selection mechanism pathway.

The chosen word is then passed down into a short term memory store (bottom) in readiness to be spoken.

Note the bypass arrows (blue, lower left). These allow non-words to be spoken without reference to a pre-existing entry in the mental dictionary (for by definition this contains only known words). However, the true complexity of this bypass processing was not fully explored until the 1980s (see, for example, Ellis and Young, 1988).

PICmorton1964.gif

Redrawn from a black-and-white original in Morton (1964:218). This version Copyright © 2002, Derek J. Smith.

 

 

References

Morton, J. (1964). A preliminary functional model for language behaviour. International Audiology, 3:216-225.

Smith, D.J. (1997). Human Information Processing. Cardiff: UWIC. [ISBN: 1900666081]