Semantic Memory and Language Production

The human brain is a warehouse of information and knowledge; and language is directly relevant to this warehouse. Specifically, language plays a key role in comprehension as well as semantic and structural constraints that make some words more likely to be produced than others (language production). Language also plays a role in memory and memory access.

In terms of the relationship of language to memory, Goldstein (2009) defines memory as all of the operations and processes that are involved in acquiring, storing, retaining and retrieving information. However, it must be noted that there are many different types of memory (e.g., long-term memory, short-term memory, episodic memory, etc.). This paper examines one type of memory, semantic memory, and explores its relationship to language production.

Nature and Function of Semantic Memory

Semantic memory can be defined as a person's knowledge of the world in general without any memory of specific personal life events or experiences (Goldstein, 2009). McNamara (2009) states that semantic memory is part of one's long-term memory processes. It is the memory of ideas, meanings, concepts.

Semantic memory is the part of the memory that stores such information as a car has four wheels, the sky is blue, and it gets dark at night. Because it is part of long-term memory, McNamara (2009) points out that it can take awhile before some of the information is successfully stored in semantic memory.



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