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Planning Processes in Speaking, Texting, and Writing – The effect of reader’s and listener’s temporal and spatial presence on planning in language production


  • Kajsa Gullberg

Summary, in English

This thesis investigates planning processes in language production, more specifically in texting as compared to speaking and writing, through pauses analyses (Goldman Eisler, 1969; Matsuhashi, 1981). Texting is used to examine the role of the spatial and temporal presence of a listener/reader in language production. Texting offers an interesting context in this respect since it has spatial absence between texter and reader, just like in writing, but temporal presence just like in speaking. The main research questions are as follows: In which contexts are pauses located in texting, speaking, and writing? How long are the production bursts in speaking, texting, and writing?
This study uses the processing models the blueprint of the speaker (Levelt 1999) and the individual-environmental model of written language production (Hayes 1996) to identify the processes in texting. Part of the thesis comprises method development to capture and analyse the real-time language production in texting on smartphones. The method consists of an experimental set-up where the same participant talks and texts dialogically, and then writes monologically. In the texting and writing conditions, the pause threshold is 1 minute, and in the speaking condition all perceived pauses are identified. In the analyses, the pauses are categorised based on the context that precede the pause (e.g. syntactic unit or revision).
The results show that the temporal and spatial presence of the reader/listener has an effect on language production. Clause boundaries are important contexts for pausing and planning in all three conditions, indicating that language users make use of syntactic units when they produce language regardless of the spatial and temporal presence of the speaker/listener. In texting and writing, pauses following a revision are important, showing that the texters and writers review what they have written. Further, the results show that texting has shorter planning units than both speaking and writing, which can be explained by the temporal presence of the reader resulting in a faster pace of communication, while the writing tool limits the speed at which language can be produced. In speaking and texting, pauses in phrase-final position are more common than in writing, which can be a result of the shorter planning units.
In conclusion, texters adapt their language production to the temporal presence of a reader, through shorter planning units, while also adapting to the spatial absence of the reader through reviewing and editing their messages. The findings of this thesis are finally used to propose a model for the language processes in texting.







Examensarbete för masterexamen (Två år)


  • Languages and Literatures


  • language processing
  • spoken language production
  • written language production
  • computer mediated communication
  • CMC
  • planning processes
  • texting


  • Victoria Johansson (Fil Dr)