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Meltzer, D. (1975). Chapter VII: Mutism in Infantile Autism, Schizophrenia, and Manic-Depressive States: The Correlation of Clinical Psycho-pathology and Linguistics. Explorations in Autism: A Psycho-Analytical Study, 192-206.

Meltzer, D. (1975). Chapter VII: Mutism in Infantile Autism, Schizophrenia, and Manic-Depressive States: The Correlation of Clinical Psycho-pathology and Linguistics. Explorations in Autism: A Psycho-Analytical Study, 192-206

Chapter VII: Mutism in Infantile Autism, Schizophrenia, and Manic-Depressive States: The Correlation of Clinical Psycho-pathology and Linguistics Book Information Previous Up Next

Donald Meltzer

Psycho-analysis in practice depends so much upon the function of speech that we are inclined to take this function a little for granted, until confronted with severe disturbances within it. Such situations make us aware how little this inner mental activity of verbalization, and its outward manifestation, vocalization, have as yet been conceptualized by psycho-analysts for their own clinical use. This chapter is a contribution towards this, meant for use in the consulting room and play-room; it therefore draws upon recent work in linguistics, but cannot claim to offer anything in return to this field. However, it is fitting that the chief sources of conceptual notions should be mentioned at the outset, before turning to the clinical material. The formulation of language function that has been employed rests heavily on the work of the following people: Bertrand Russell's conception of meta-languages at different levels of abstraction; Wittgenstein's view of language as part of the ‘natural history’ of human beings, and its division into deep and surface language; Susan Langer's view of the musical basis of language which is taken here to apply to Wittgenstein's ‘deep’ language and to Chomsky's ‘deep grammar’; Bion's conception of the employment of projective identification as the primal mode for communicating states of mind, which is taken to be the content of ‘deep’ language and grammar. It is perhaps well to state clearly that this paper is not framed in sympathy with views which equate the mind and brain, and would therefore not harmonize with ideas which are based on neuropathology, such as Merleau Ponti's when he employs Goldstein's observations on aphasia, nor with developmental views put forward by (for instance) Roman Jakobson, which

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* Read to the 28th International Congress of Psycho-analysis, Paris, July 1973. Published in the Int. J. Psycho-analysis (1974), 55: 397-404.

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