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Velikovsky, I. (1934). Can a Newly Acquired Language become the Speech of the Unconscious? Word-Plays in the Dreams of Hebrew-Thinking Persons. Psychoanal. Rev., 21(3):329-335.

(1934). Psychoanalytic Review, 21(3):329-335

Can a Newly Acquired Language become the Speech of the Unconscious? Word-Plays in the Dreams of Hebrew-Thinking Persons

Immanuel Velikovsky

The question of the identity of dream symbolism in languages of various origin is of far-reaching importance; its solution can cast light on many fields of psychology (origin of languages, ideation, collective unconscious, hereditary transmission of the mneme, etc.).

Since I often conduct my analyses in Hebrew, I believe that I may be able to contribute to the solution of the problem through a comparison of the symbolism in the Semitic and Aryan languages, which are further removed from one another than the various branches of the Aryan. As preliminary studies, I have decided to publish “Psychoanalytic Precursors in the Art of Dream Interpretation of the Ancient Hebrews from the Tractate Brachoth “(Die Psychoanalytische Bewegung, Vol. V, No. 1) and the present paper.

In this paper I want to show the existence of unconscious thinking in the Hebrew (a newly revived language, no hereditary transmission of the mneme) and, through examples, to present some idea of the richness of word-plays found in the dreams of individuals thinking in Hebrew, and at the same time to attempt an explanation for this frequent appearance of word-plays in Hebrew.

One idea can replace a second as the result of a similarity in form, qualities, functions, the manner of originating, or of a similarity in the sound of the word. The symbol (which arises through similarity in form, quality, function or origin) is not or not necessarily bound to any particular turn of speech. The greater the similarity of the symbol to the word-sound the less its effectiveness. The opposite is true of the word-play; it may be a success if there be only a similarity in the sound of the words and otherwise none whatsoever.

Since word-plays are intimately and essentially bound up with a particular language, they are different in every language.


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