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January 1953


Author Affiliations


From the Psychiatric Service, Massachusetts General Hospital; the Massachusetts General Hospital Division of the Hall-Mercer Hospital, Boston; the McLean Hospital, Waverley, Mass., and the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1953;69(1):14-26. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1953.02320250020002

A PREVIOUS publication1 reported some quantitative characteristics of the structure of manic speech. Function, as revealed by the pattern of language, is the focus of the present study. Judgments of design, motivation, relationships, intensity, and value become inseparable from even the simplest observations made upon language as a unit of behavior, as distinct from those made upon language as a codified system of signs. Hence these observations are presented as an attempt to differentiate various aspects of language behavior, and are a preliminary approximation rather than an exposition of fact.

Language is both a highly flexible and, at the same time, very rigidly determined form of behavior. While it varies sensitively with the individuality of the speaker, it bears also the impress of a pattern that transcends the individual and reflects the common denominators of mental and emotional states.

The pattern of language behavior in patients who develop a