change in progress

Joyce Tang Boyland jtang at COGSCI.BERKELEY.EDU
Tue Dec 5 23:09:13 UTC 1995

In a project I am working on now, I'm seeing a relation between
change-in-progress and speech errors similar to what R.G. Montes speaks of,
but I don't foresee that it would be possible to draw a clear distinction
between change and errors.

I have people repeat for me sentences like "What would you have done?",
and quite a few of them repeat it as "What would have you done?".
When I ask them about it, some of them say, "Wow, I can't believe I said that"
while others say "Yes, that is how I say that,"  whereas (many) others say
"Hm.  How *would* I say that?"

I think it's significant that there is this third type of response,
from people who don't have a clear judgment about it.  Briefly, I think that
it could be through these people that change is spread.
I also find it interesting that these people are not from very different dialect
groups -- I find all three responses among native speakers of American English
from the SF Bay Area.  I have several thoughts on this which I won't go into
here, but I do think the idea of "dynamic synchrony" could usefully be applied
in this case.

Joyce Tang Boyland (jtang at

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