Pathology is the branch of medical science that studies the conditions associated with diseases or other abnormal functions. Psychopathology is the branch of pathology that is particularly concerned with psychological disorders. One of the most common symptoms in patients suffering from some form of psychological disorder is a difficulty or abnormality in linguistic communication.
It is natural, therefore, for students of psychopathology to be interested in language, and in recent years there has been a notable increase in the study of the relations between language and psychopathology. The reasons for this increase are certainly very complex, but some of the major factors involved can be identified.
The first of these is the general impact of the rapid growth of knowledge and theory about the psychology of language in general. We may approach the study of linguistic communication from the point of view of structural linguistics on the one hand, or from the more psychological point of view of associative learning on the other hand. In either case, however, the result is to emphasize the formal aspects of verbal behavior, rather than the semantic problems concerned with the meaning of verbal utterances.
A second development, facilitating the work of quantitative analysis in linguistics, is the increasing availability of highspeed computer techniques for language analysis. Many questions dealing with problems of sentence formation, syntactic style, and other measurable aspects of our verbal utterances would