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    Verbal Lapsus: What Is Behind These Errors?

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    Robert Maurer

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    Who has never been wrong while speaking and has not
    confused one word with another? It has been proven that every 1.000 words are committed
    one or two mistakes. If we consider that the average rhythm of verbal expression is
    of 150 words per minute, you would make a mistake every seven minutes of
    conversation continues. In short, every day we would commit on average between 7 and
    the 22 verbal errors.

    Sigmund Freud in 1901 coined the term "fehlleistungen"
    (service missed) to define these errors. Freud considered that yes
    it was an unconscious thought, need or desire, which revealed itself
    in this way through speech. Thus it was that the famous "Freudian lapse”He began
    being used to explain strange and sometimes embarrassing behavior,
    such as when a man greets the beautiful wife of the landlord
    saying "happy to win" because really
    he would feel sexual attraction for this woman and would like to bully her
    her husband. Either way, a 
    Freud's contemporary, Rudolf Meringer, offered a great deal of explanation
    less "sensual" for these errors. According to this philologist, errors
    linguistic would simply be "banana peels" on which one slips
    in the course of speech, simple accidental changes or substitutions of
    linguistic units, no more and no less. However, modern research has taken up this theme but
    from a different perspective. Indeed, Gary Dell, professor of linguistics and
    psychology of the University of Illinois, argues that the lapsus linguae are the example
    a person's ability to use language and its components. In his opinion, the concepts, words and sounds,
    are interconnected in the brain through three networks: lexical, semantic and
    phonological. The word comes from the interaction of the same. But sometimes, the networks,
    that operate through a process he called "activation propagation",
    they move intermittently. Thus, sometimes the result is a slip or an error in the
    speech formation. For example, let's imagine we want to say the
    word "to cultivate". At this point our mind activates a semantic network
    which is made up of more or less 30.000 words. Then all the
    meanings related to the word cultivate and even ours
    personal experiences with the same. At the same time, our network
    phonological must take action to look for the appropriate sounds that allow for
    pronounce the word. And not only that, but we must also look for the correspondence
    grammar so that the word sounds good in the sentence. As you can imagine, it is
    very easy for our brains to get confused. It would be strange that it is not
    did! For this reason, sometimes we only pronounce the first ones
    syllables of the wrong word since we immediately realize the misunderstanding.
    Of course, it will be much easier to confuse words that sound similar,
    such as: hospitality and hostility, insinuating and establishing. Thus, the
    most slips of the tongue are nothing more than "banana peels" on
    which one slips, produced by an "overload" of brain work. But others are not! Indeed, some verbal errors can be
    caused by the incidence of meanings. For example, when we think in the name
    a person's experiences immediately spring to mind
    itself. In this way, these experiences or desires could be there
    cause of the error. In short, it would be a matter of verbal slips caused by
    intrusive thoughts. The problem is rooted in the fact that the more there
    we try to suppress these thoughts and the more they become frequent and,
    it would not be strange that they presented themselves through linguistic errors.
    Obviously, the more distracted we would be, the more mistakes we would make. This is demonstrated by a curious experiment
    developed by the University of California, in which psychologists asked
    some straight men to talk about their work in front of a woman
    dressed in a provocative way. As a result, these men were committing more
    verbal slips of a sexual nature with respect to those who had been interviewed by a
    other man. Of course, this happens because our brains have one
    limited ability to maintain attention and cannot control so many
    processes at the same time. There would be a solution to avoid these errors
    simple enough: speak slowly to reflect on what we will say.
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