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The Language of Schizophrenia: a Review and Interpretation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2018


Brendan Maher
Affiliation:
Professor of Psychology, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02154

Extract

Psychopathologists have tended to regard the phenomena of schizophrenic language as reflections of a more basic disturbance of thought. Writings on these topics generally link them together (e.g., Kasanin's Language and Thought in Schizophrenia, 1944). Critchley (1964), from his survey of major aspects of psychotic speech, concluded that the ‘causation of schizophrenic speech affection lies in an underlying thought disorder, rather than in a linguistic inaccessibility’. Differences of opinion are evident as to what the nature of this thinking disorder might be. Regression (Gardner, 1931; Kasanin, 1944), excessive concreteness of thought (Goldstein, 1944; Milgram, 1959) and deficiency in logical deductive reasoning (Von Domarus, 1944) are some of the more prominent hypotheses to be found in the literature relating to this problem.


Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1972 

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Footnotes

Although the major development of the concepts of information and redundancy was achieved by the work of Shannon, Rubin had already performed studies and reported his ideas on these problems in the late 1920s at the University of Copenhagen. For a published version of his writings on redundancy the reader is referred to Rubin (1956).


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eLetters

Schizophrenia as a primary disorder of language

05 September 2012
Saad F. Ghalib, consultant old age psychiatrist
Over 40 years have passed since the article (Maher, BJP, Jan. 1972) was written, and it is still debatable whether schizophrenia should be considered as a primary disorder of language or, as most still do, a disorder of thought that is reflected in language. This short letter is intended to clarify some conceptual issues primarily pertaining to information theory, linguistics and perception. If... More
Conflict of interest: None declared

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