Speaking of slips, in Michael Erard's article "read my slips" he substantiates the theory that we learn from our mistakes. Initially, he takes a look into the experiments surrounding Kanzi, a 27 year old Konobo (ape) who connects spoken words to lexigrams (abstract visual symbols). ALthough Kanzi makes her mistakes in identifying the correct lexigrams at times, what is most interesting is that when asked to distinguish blackberry, she will pick a similar (if not the correct) lexigram, like hot dogs, cherries, and blueberries. This signifies a complex system of classifying words established mainly on their meaning and sound, and thus implicates "that, given the chance, bonobos and other apes can acquire systems of meaning that are closer than anyone has thought to what humans do, and that some aspects of language acquisition are not unique to humans."
Most scientists believe that language and sounds are stored in a type of network in the brain. In relation to mundane slips of the tongue, there is much to be learned as well. Cognitive scientist Gary Dell proposed that
"when sounds or words stored in such a network are selected, this also strengthens or "activates" neighboring words or sounds, which may be misread as the right ones. In his model, people forced to speak quickly make more errors not because they have more opportunities to do so but because the stimulation of neighboring units has less opportunity to fade. Dell also proposes that practice tends to activate present and future units more than past ones. As a result, the more practice a speaker has, the higher the proportion of anticipatory errors, although overall errors decrease."
through further study it is found that the same slips can be found in writing, insinuating "that humans possess a single language faculty regardless of how they deploy it" although some of this may be contributed to lapses in motor skills as well.
Interesting stuff, and it reminds me of the speech exercises I did back in my short-lived actress phase. Did these small warm-ups stem from the study of languages and slips? Or were they born out of sheer logic? Try saying Toy Boat 15 times fast and tell me if that seems like a cognitive or a motor slip to you.