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Rosen, V.H. (1969). Introduction to Panel on Language and Psychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 50:113-116.

(1969). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 50:113-116

Introduction to Panel on Language and Psychoanalysis

Victor H. Rosen

Ferdinand de Saussure (1916), who is called the father of modern linguistics, is also the father of a distinguished psychoanalyst, Dr Raymond de Saussure, but there are other important ties between the two disciplines. Psychoanalysis cannot do without language, and the study of language cannot dispense with psychology. Psychoanalysis has contributed important insights into the psychopathology of language (for an excellent account of this and a good bibliography on the subject see Laffal (1965)). The study of the structure of language, on the other hand, promises to provide us with some important glimpses into basic patterns of the organization of the ego (Chomsky, 1957); (Edelheit, 1968); (Freud, 1888), (1895); (Luria, 1961); (Miller and Isard, 1963); (Vernon, 1967); (Vygotsky, 1962); (Werner and Kaplan, 1963); (Whorf, 1962).

Linguistics and psychoanalysis also share several methodological similarities. Both are based upon deterministic assumptions. They place a similar emphasis on historical development and both depend heavily upon the reconstruction of the past as an important tool. Both fields are analytic in their approach. Clinical theory and the study of the structure of specific languages afford interesting similarities, while even more striking in their analogous relationship are the metapsychology of psychoanalysis and the "metalinguistic" systems for the study of language (e.g. the transformational grammar of Chomsky (1957)).

The relationship of language to thought is central to both disciplines and continues to preoccupy linguists directly and psychoanalysts by implication in all of their activities.

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