Language and Medicine

  • Marshall Edelson
Part of the Applied Psycholinguistics and Communication Disorders book series (APCD)


Today’s lecture will be somewhat longer and more formal than usual, for reasons I hope will become apparent to you. Some years ago, a senior faculty member, who occupied an important position and who was a person for whom and for whose ideas I had considerable respect, was discussing the curriculum of this medical school with some other faculty members, including myself. He was trying to find the example par excellence of a subject irrelevant for the education of physicians. He did not know I had any special interest in language. Quite unmaliciously he hit upon what he considered to be the ideal example of irrelevance—the subject of linguistics. You know what it’s like, after such a conversation, to think of all the good things you might have said. In this lecture, I am among other things replying—belatedly—to my colleague. You shall be the judges whether or not it is likely even now that my reply would shake his conviction one whit.


Noun Phrase Clinical Skill Human Language Language User Linguistic Competence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Balint, M. The doctor, his patient, and the illness. New York: International Universities Press, 1973.Google Scholar
  2. Baziak, A., and Dentan, R. The language of the hospital and its effects on the patient. ETC.: A Review of General Semantics, 1960, 17, 261 - 268.Google Scholar
  3. Chomsky, N. Syntactic structures. The Hague: Mouton, 1957.Google Scholar
  4. Chomsky, N. Review of B. F. Skinners Verbal behavior. In J. Fodor and J. Katz (Eds.), The structure of language. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1964.Google Scholar
  5. Chomsky, N. Reflections on language. New York: Pantheon, 1975.Google Scholar
  6. Crookshank, F. G. The importance of a theory of signs and a critique of language in the study of medicine. In C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards, The meaning of meaning. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1923.Google Scholar
  7. Edelson, M. Language and dreams: The interpretation of dreams revisited. The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 1972, 27, 203 - 282.Google Scholar
  8. Edelson, M. Language and interpretation in psychoanalysis. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1975.Google Scholar
  9. Edelson, M. Toward a study of interpretation in psychoanalysis. In J. Loubser, R. Baum, A Effrat, and V. Lidz (Eds.), Explorations in general theory in social science (2 vols.). New York: The Free Press, 1976, pp. 151 - 181.Google Scholar
  10. Edelson, M. Psychoanalysis as science. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 1977, 165, 1 - 28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Edelson, M. What is the psychoanalyst talking about? In J. H. Smith (Ed.), Psychiatry and the humanities: Psychoanalysis and language (Vol. 3 ). New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978, pp. 99 - 170.Google Scholar
  12. Fabrega, H., Jr., and Tyma, S. Language and cultural influences in the description of pain. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1976, 49, 349 - 371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fodor, J. A., Bever, T. G., and Garrett, M. F. The psychology of language. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974.Google Scholar
  14. Freedman, A., Kaplan, H., and Sadock, B. Modern synopsis of psychiatry/I1. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1976.Google Scholar
  15. Freud, S. Introductory lectures on psychoanalysis. Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works (Vols 15 and 16 ). London: Hogarth Press, 1953.Google Scholar
  16. Hartmann, H. Essays on ego psychology. New York: International Universities Press, 1964. Hilgard, E., and Bower, G. Theories of learning (4th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1975.Google Scholar
  17. Labov, W., The logic of nonstandard English. In W. Labov (Ed.), Language in the inner city. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1972, pp. 201 - 240.Google Scholar
  18. Lenneberg, E. Biological foundations of language. New York: Wiley, 1967.Google Scholar
  19. Lévi-Strauss, C. The effectiveness of symbols. In Structural anthropology. New York: Basic Books, 1967.Google Scholar
  20. Luria, A. R. The directive function of speech in development and dissolution. Word, 1959, 15, 341 - 352.Google Scholar
  21. Luria, A. R. The working brain. New York: Basic Books, 1973.Google Scholar
  22. Lyons, J. Noam Chomsky. New York: Viking, 1970.Google Scholar
  23. Miller, G. A., Galanter, E., and Pribram, K. Plans and the structure of behavior. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1960.Google Scholar
  24. Moravcsik, J. M. E., Competence, creativity, and innateness. In J. M. E. Moravcsik (Ed.), Logic and philosophy for linguists. The Hague: Mouton, 1974.Google Scholar
  25. Piaget, J. Play, dreams and imitation in childhood. New York: Norton, 1962.Google Scholar
  26. Piaget, J., and Inhelder, B. The psychology of the child. New York: Basic Books, 1969. Pribram, K. Languages of the brain. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1971.Google Scholar
  27. Rapaport, D. Collected papers of David Rapaport (M. Gill, Ed.). New York: Basic Books, 1967. Sapir, E. Culture, language, and personality. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966. Shapiro, D. Neurotic styles. New York: Basic Books, 1965Google Scholar
  28. Whorf, B. L. Language, thought, and reality. Cambridge: The M.I.T. Press, 1964. Zborowski, M. People in pain. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1969.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marshall Edelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

Personalised recommendations