The physicality of words: Some implications of Donald Meltzer's writings on language

Rhode, Maria (2013) The physicality of words: Some implications of Donald Meltzer's writings on language. Infant Observation: The International Journal of Infant Observation and Its Applications, 16 (3). pp. 270-285. ISSN 1369-8036

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The author considers Donald Meltzer's writings on language in relation to the testimony of poets on the role of rhythm, sound and the ‘shape’ of words in poetic composition as well as in the reader's response. Observational and clinical material is offered to illustrate Meltzer's concepts of the ‘Song and Dance Level’ of language and of the ‘Theatre of the Mouth’. Sibling figures and the Oedipal father are seen as important structuring elements of the child's capacity to produce words and sentences. It is suggested that mutism and the idiosyncratic distortions of words and of syntax can reflect the child's primitive anxieties and phantasies as well as serving as a magical attempt to control them. Convergences with other theoretical approaches are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Sixth Annual Public Lecture on the work of Donald Meltzer. Published online: 07 Nov 2013
Uncontrolled Keywords: Autism, Meltzer, Mutism, Poetic Diction, Rhythm, Song and Dance Level, Syntax, Theatre of the Mouth, Observation, Proto Language Development
Subjects: Communication (incl. disorders of) > Autism
Communication (incl. disorders of) > Language
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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