Language specific madness
Thread poster: Vito Smolej

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 08:09
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Jun 12, 2008

...a fascinating study on language and psychosis that found that multilingual psychotic patients can present with either different or less psychotic symptoms depending on the language they use.

This is from the introduction, which outlines some of the curious effects:

Zulueta’s (1984) review article on the implications of bilingualism in the study and treatment of psychiatric disorders showed that certain psychotic fluent bilinguals, who had learnt their second language during or after puberty, could present with different psychotic phenomena depending on which language they used. Most of these patients tended to present as more disturbed in their primary ‘mother tongue’ and as less disturbed in their second language (Castillo, 1970; Hemphill, 1971).

see more on mind hacks

http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2008/06/language_specific_ma.html

or in pubmed - Abstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11802842


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James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:09
Russian to English
+ ...
Psychological problems related to culture? Jun 12, 2008

This is very interesting. I've suspected for some time that psychology is more rooted in a specific culture than psychologists often realize.

Some years ago I took a training courses for federal government managers that was taught by a pair of psychologists. As you might imagine, some of the people they were teaching would work in other countries and would be supervising host nation employees at some point in their career.

A large part of the course was on how to deal with conflict. I felt that a lot of the guidance we got from the instructors was specific to American culture, but when I challenged the instructors, they couldn't see my point of view. I even involved a fellow student from the Philippines in a discussion about one of the techniques they were teaching, and she agreed with me that that particular technique would not have the desired effect on someone from her cultural background.

I mention this experience because a truly bilingual person is often bi-cultural, as well. When they switch languages, they tend to switch cultures at the same time. I wonder if the researchers have considered that angle.


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Shirley Lao  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
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Are the two language versions of this scale linguistically equivalent? Jun 13, 2008

"A language history was taken on three patients who were then assessed using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale structured interview (SCI-PANSS) for schizophrenia in their two languages. All three patients were found to have different positive symptoms depending on the language used in the interview procedure by the same bilingual researcher."



The existence of different positive symptoms based on the language used in the interview procedure by the same bilingual researcher is meaningful ONLY if (1) the two language versions of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale structured interview (SCI-PANSS) are linguistically equivalent; (2) the patients are truly bilingual in their native tongue and their second language; and (3) the researcher (or the interviewer) of this study is truly bilingual.

If the respondents and the interviewer are not truly bilingual, the above research findings may be confounded by their unsatisfactory linguistic competence, because the respondents and/or the interviewer may not be able to completely understand the two language versions of this scale, convey their responses accordingly and accurately understand the others' responses.

[Edited at 2008-06-13 07:40]


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 08:09
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Right on target Jun 13, 2008

...If the respondents and the interviewer are not truly bilingual, the above research findings may be confounded by their unsatisfactory linguistic competence...


What's interesting per se is the variance itself. And of course one could start the argument about the causes of their unsatisfactory linguistic competence ... For me, it's just the correlation, thats intriguing, without going into the causality questions.



[Edited at 2008-06-13 10:37]


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Evangelia Mouma  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 07:09
English to Greek
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variance Jun 15, 2008

What's interesting per se is the variance itself.


I agree on that, definitely. It is as if the two languages were wired in different places...

How do you discover such interesting articles? Both this one and the previous about language and genome - though, unfortunately, I couldn't find a way of reading it - were very mind-intriguing.

Thanks!


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:09
Member (2006)
French to English
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Slightly off the point, but ... Jun 15, 2008

I knew a most accomplished and humorous Swede who spoke excellent English. He said that he envied the English their language because it contained words for the subtlest of feelings for which there was no equivalent in Swedish and that, therefore, the English were actually able to feel emotions that the Swedes were not able to feel simply because their language lacked the words.
I don't speak Swedish and have no idea whether his assertion was true, but it's an interesting idea that you can't feel something for which you have no words.
A chicken and egg situation?
Regards,
Jenny


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:09
French to English
Sapir-Whorf? Jun 15, 2008

Jenny Forbes wrote:
I don't speak Swedish and have no idea whether his assertion was true, but it's an interesting idea that you can't feel something for which you have no words.

Sound not unlike the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which I leave it to you to google until your interest is sated


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 08:09
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It so simple, it's nearly insulting ... Jun 15, 2008

How do you discover such interesting articles?

I subscribe to mindhacks RS feed. So its a little more (but not much) than cutting and pasting. We dont know how real soul searching looks anymore - we use google for it.

Regards

Vito


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Evangelia Mouma  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 07:09
English to Greek
+ ...
thanks Jun 15, 2008

I subscribe to mindhacks RS feed.


Thank you very much.

Regards
Lilia


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