Spontaneity of Speech Errors: A Diagnostic Psycholinguistic Case Study

  •  Mohammad Awad Al-Dawoody Abdulaal    
  •  Naglaa Fathy Mohammad Atia Abuslema    


The aim of this study is to use speech errors as a verbal means of communication to clarify the psychological aspects of George W. Bush’s character. Bush’s character is chosen for being highly controversial, having received the lowest approval rating in 2008 and the highest approval rating after the September 11 attacks. To achieve the aim of this study, a psycholinguistic approach is adopted in addition to a speech production model set by Dell (1999), and Chang and Griffin (1999). Some of Bush’s spontaneous errors are supposed to be collected, and then categorized from a psycholinguistic perspective and finally analyzed statistically. The main results of the study can be summed in the following points. (a) The phonological and morphological errors, caused by the psychological priming, reveal how much perplexity and confusion Bush has experienced. (b) Bush’s Freudian slips—caused by psycho-physiological factors, such as fatigue, excitement, and distraction—reveal the fact that he is not an open outright president as he represses many thoughts and feelings more than he shows. (c) Bush’s syntactic errors, caused by the improper lexical insertion, reveal his poor linguistic competence; the matter that reveals low intelligence for many psychologists such as Pishghadam and Shams (2012). (d) The economical use of speech disfluencies, caused by problems in the recognition system, reveals that Bush has a tendency of rashness. That is, he may take rapid incorrect decisions that lead to catastrophes.

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