The split between voice and meaning: The dual function of psychotic syntax

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Following both Bion's and Aulagnier's thought, this paper seeks to examine two functions of psychotic syntax within the nonpsychotic personality. The first function is the creation of a split between voice and meaning in the mother-infant relationship, a split whose aim is to disengage contact with contents that cannot be metabolized and that are associated with the mother's denied death wish toward her infant. The second function pertains to the use of psychotic syntax as a way of denying separateness and annihilating the speaking I. Both functions will be exemplified by clinical case studies. In conclusion, psychotic language will be discussed as a hybrid language generated by an incestuous relationship between the mother's and the infant's language.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Forum of Psychoanalysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Aulagnier
  • Bion
  • Language
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Psychosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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