Spoken Word Retrieval and Word-Finding Difficulties

David Messer

In: Encyclopedia of Language Development

Spoken Word Retrieval and Word-Finding Difficulties

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  • Basic to the use of spoken and written language is the seemingly simple task of retrieving words from memory. Word retrieval usually is a very fast and automatic process and appears so simple that many of us only give the process some thought when we cannot remember a particular word for an object, action, or event. However, some individuals have impairments with word retrieval that can involve a range of behaviors, including an inability to retrieve a word, retrieval of a related but incorrect word, slow retrieval and naming, the use of gap fillers such as um or err, and the use of circumlocutions (e.g., It looks like). Furthermore, problems with word retrieval are associated with more general disabilities involving language and literacy.

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