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Litowitz, B.E. (1975). Language: Waking and Sleeping. Psychoanal. Contemp. Sci., 4(1):291-330.

(1975). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Science, 4(1):291-330

3 Linguistic Studies

Language: Waking and Sleeping

Bonnie E. Litowitz, Ph.D.

I. Perspective: Introduction

Recent articles, books, and papers evidence a growing interdisciplinary approach to the study of language. Among the many reasons for this is the increasing realization that language is sufficiently complex to warrant multiple approaches. A further important point is that only recently has linguistics become theoretically sophisticated enough to provide a structure capable of combination (e.g., with Sociology→Sociolinguistics).

This paper deals with yet another interdisciplinary approach to language, a combination of psychoanalytic theory and linguistic theory. It is a kind of psycholinguistics. It is not, however, the usual kind of psycholinguistics which aims at combining linguistics and psychology, since the psychology in psycholinguistics is usually of the variety developed from and influenced by (no matter how subtly) the behaviorist or empiricist tradition in this country. As interesting as the results of this kind of psycholinguistics have been, it is not sufficiently centered upon the individual language user—the person who speaks and hears language not only as a coder/decoder dealing with stimulus/response, but also as a thinker, dreamer, and member of a social and cultural group.

Chafe (1973) has expressed my concerns most succinctly:

Unfortunately, the first reaction of a linguist who looks with anticipation to psychology is likely to be one of dismay.

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