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von Hug-Hellmuth, H. Putnam, J.J. Stevens, M. (1918). A Study of the Mental Life of the Child. Psychoanal. Rev., 5(4):398-427.

(1918). Psychoanalytic Review, 5(4):398-427


A Study of the Mental Life of the Child

H. von Hug-Hellmuth, James J. Putnam, M.D. and Mabel Stevens

VI. Speech (Die Sprache)

Continued from page 322

It is no exaggeration to say that the child's life is made up of love and play. Only what brings him love, only what can be made use of in play, has significance and value for him. His speech, too, is developed from this double need of his nature. Even the first faltering sounds, as we have seen, are the expression of auto-erotism, as one of its infinite variations; and the speech of the maturing child, full of intelligence as it is, continues to bear witness to the presence of these components. In the angry shrieking of abusive words offended self-love rages like a fiery steed; while on the other hand, in the form of (bestowing) flattering caresses, the soul of the child shows its longing for tenderness. The constant asking of questions by children—in addition to the intellectual gain thus secured— aims at attracting the undivided attention of the people about them. Sully is mistaken in thinking that a morbid inquisitiveness accounts for this questioning habit; a far more important cause is the wish for the exclusive devotion of a loved person.

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