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Oberndorf, C.P. (1932). Analysis of Disturbances in Speech. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 13:369-374.

(1932). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 13:369-374

Analysis of Disturbances in Speech

C. P. Oberndorf

Verbigerations as well as neologisms are still defined as meaningless by competent psychiatrists. Indeed, the terms neologism, stereotypy and verbigeration are sometimes used interchangeably. Bleuler describes verbigeration as 'the constant repetition of words or phrases which are entirely meaningless or at least meaningless in connection with the actual situation'. Interestingly enough, twenty years ago Kraepelin after a lengthy consideration comments that verbigerations 'in certain cases can hardly be produced simply through a machine-like perseverating of speech representations, but they are evidently intentional, perhaps as the result of a negativistic exclusion of new notions (Vorstellungen)'.

The verbigerations of psychotic patients are often apparently disconnected from their conversation. They are so seldom open to analysis that the following examples of the interpretation of repetitions, repeated so monotonously that they sounded like verbigeration, are reported:

A male patient had the habit of stammering when he broached topics such as his honesty, sex life, etc., concerning which he was inclined to lie. He would frequently conclude a sentence which he began with a stammer in a repetition of the phrase, 'Don't you think that's so, Doctor—don't you think that's so?' in a lifeless monotone. In other words, the conflict which caused the stammering at the beginning required a reassuring repetition at the end. Both symptoms diminished very greatly during the analytic procedure.

A female patient, aged forty, suffering from ideas of persecution which had not quite reached the completely delusional stage, showed a tendency to a verbigeration in that she would repeat certain phrases in a monotonous, almost meaningless, tone. For example, after she had met a certain gentleman who had shewn her some attention, she stated, 'Mr. X wanted to come up the day we left for the coast—he wanted to come up'.

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