you’re a kind man [kaɪnd mæn] →
you’re a canned mine [kænd maɪn]
Geoff concludes his post as follows:
The details of such errors have often been used by phonologists as evidence for phonological structure. After all, if you can accidentally switch the nuclei of two adjacent syllables when you’re very tired, one obvious explanation would be that phonology is not a kind of fiction made up in the process of doing linguistic analysis; rather, there really are syllables, they really have nuclei, and your speech production mechanisms actually operate in a way that, in effect, makes reference to these units.
This made me think about how little I actually know about speech errors and the evidence they provide for phonological structure, apart from the tidbits I discuss in introductory courses (the source of most if not all of these probably being Vicki Fromkin‘s work). In particular, I’m unaware of any examples that might show interaction with phonological rules as opposed to phonological structure.
Now before you write to point out to me that the [k] in the result of the speech error above is more fronted than it is in the source (due to the following front vowel), or that the swapped vowels in the result differ somewhat in length from their respective correspondents in the source (due to the following cluster [nd] vs. single consonant [n]), let me clarify that I’m specifically thinking of rules that cannot be reasonably attributed to the phonetics (coarticulation and so forth) — not that this isn’t in itself interesting, but as this example shows, we already know that speech errors can (and do) feed such phoneticky rules.
I’m more curious about the following types of (completely hypothetical) examples. Suppose you mean to say I worry about Jean’s sanity [ʤi:nz sænɪɾi:], and you swap the indicated vowels/nuclei. Will it come out as [ʤænz si:nɪɾi:] (swap only) or as [ʤeɪnz sɛnɪɾi:] (swap feeds trisyllabic shortening and vowel shift)?
Or, if that type of example is too questionable, let’s take a language in which high vowels undergo backness and rounding harmony and non-high vowels only undergo backness harmony (like Turkish). Now suppose you mean to say a two-word phrase like [bolumun tukalɯr] (completely made up), and you swap the indicated vowels/nuclei. Will it come out as [bolamun tukulɯr] (swap only) or as [bolamɯn tukulur] (swap feeds vowel harmony)?
My gut-level intuition in these two cases is that English trisyllabic shortening and vowel shift are either too “deep” or non-phonological (in the relevant sense) to be fed by the speech error (so I’d expect the swap-only result [ʤænz si:nɪɾi:]), and that Turkish vowel harmony is “surface-y” enough (again, in the relevant sense, so I’d expect the swap-feeds-harmony result [bolamɯn tukulur]. It’d be interesting to concoct a case that fits somewhere between these two — “deeper” than vowel harmony but more “surface-y” than trisyllabic shortening vowel shift — to see what happens.
Anyone know of any relevant cases, or want to concoct some hypothetical example(s)?