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August 1960

The Semantics and the Context of the Schizophrenic's Language

Author Affiliations

San Jose, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;3(2):128-138. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.01710020012003

When confronted with the verbal productions of a schizophrenic patient, we are often led to speculate about not only the kind of a message being put forth, but also the sort of factors, emotional or otherwise, responsible for the characteristic bizarreness of such productions.

Most of what has been said toward an understanding of the subject rests on the assumption that a parallelism exists between speech and thought according to which the strange verbal behavior of the schizophrenic patient is but a reflection of the underlying "thinking disorder." Along these lines wellknown contributions have been made: Bleuler1 saw in schizophrenia a weakness of the associations due to which "wishes and fears control the trend (of thought) instead of logical connections"2; Vigotsky3 described "a disturbance, an impairment," in the formation of concepts, and a regression to "complex thinking" as an expression of

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