1st Edition

Linguistics and Psychoanalysis A New Perspective on Language Processing and Evolution

By Thomas Paul Bonfiglio Copyright 2023
    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    This groundbreaking, provocative book presents an overview of research at the disciplinary intersection of psychoanalysis and linguistics.

    Understanding that linguistic activity, to a great extent, takes place in unconscious cognition, Thomas Paul Bonfiglio systematically demonstrates how fundamental psychoanalytic mechanisms—such as displacement, condensation, overdetermination, and repetition—have been absent in the history of linguistic inquiry, and explains how these mechanisms can illuminate the understanding of the grammatical structure, evolution, acquisition, and processing of language. Reexamining popular misunderstandings of psychoanalysis along the way, Bonfiglio further proposes a new theoretical configuration of language and expertly sets the future agenda on this subject with new conceptual paradigms for research and teaching.

    This will be an invaluable, fascinating resource for advanced students and scholars of theoretical and applied linguistics, the cognitive-behavioral sciences, metaphor studies, humor studies and play theory, anthropology, and beyond.


    Introduction: Toward a new transformational model of language

    1 The contributions of Michel Bréal and Julia Kristeva to a psychoanalytic science of language

    2 Recursion and metacognition

    3 The psychoanalytic linguistics of Jean Piaget

    4 Dreamwork: The precognitive formation of language

    5 Speech errors and humor: in principio non erat verbum

    6 Language, consciousness, and identity

    7 Neuro-psychoanalysis

    8 Language and mimesis

    9 Language and mirror neurons

    10 What is grammar?

    11 The evolution of language in a psychoanalytic perspective

    12 Metaphor and psychoanalysis

    13 Psychoanalysis and linguistic relativity


    Glossary of relevant psychoanalytic terms



    Thomas Paul Bonfiglio is Professor of Literature and Linguistics, William Judson Gaines Chair in Modern Foreign Languages, and Coordinator of the Linguistics program at the University of Richmond, USA. He has written a number of books, including The Psychopathology of American Capitalism; Why is English Literature?: Language and Letters for the Twenty-First Century; Mother Tongues and Nations: The Invention of the Native Speaker; and Race and the Rise of Standard American.