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July 1964

Symbol Formation: An Organismic-Development Approach to Language and the Expression of Thought.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;11(1):99-100. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720250101013

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The study of language has fluctuated in emphasis between form and function. Advocates of form analysis, the older linguistic tradition, have held that meaning is determined primarily by words and syntax. Whereas advocates of function analysis, pyscholinguistics, contend that meaning is determined by the implications of the language. At issue is the means of language development, the nature of the symbols employed in language, and the relationship between speech and thought.

Werner and Kaplan present a theory of language development which contains a synthesis of language form and function, and report a body of systematic research, largely from the Clark University projects on human development and symbolic activities. However, the research data is primarily employed to illustrate the theoretical constructions of the authors.

The authors consider man as unique in possessing a basic desire to know his world, rather than merely reacting with or reacting to his world (p

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