1. Physiology is the study of normal organic processes; pathology is the study of deviations and abnormalities. In the field of linguistics, the description and explanation of ordinary, normal Unguistic behavior belongs to the realm of physiology, and the description and explanation of linguistic abnormalities to that of pathology.
Just as pathological phenomena may consist of the same elements as normal physiological phenomena, but in a different arangement and different quantitative ratios, so abnormal linguistic behavior is not something utterly different from normal linguistic behavior, but a kind of pathological overgrowth (hypertrophy) of some linguistic elements at the expense of others, or the loss (atrophy) of some elements. In other words, the study of abnormal phenomena deals with certain elements which have developed one-sidedly but are also found in normal behavior, or attempts to explain the loss of some elements.
2. The study of abnormal biological (organic or linguistic) behavior also sheds light on normal changes which take place in the course of generations. A weak and infrequent deviation repeated over several generations may acquire sufficient strength to become, in the end, a characteristic of the entire species. Individual deviations may yield the same result, but in a shorter period of time.
Individual linguistic deviations differ from historical deviations affecting a series of generations. In the latter case we have to do with the sum total of a long chain of minute changes and substitutions of one kind of activity of the speech organs for another (speech organs are here intended in the broadest sense of the word, i.e., including not only the speech organs proper, but also the brain), whereas individual deviations appear in the form of definite, so to speak, macroscopic substitutions. The quantitative and qualitative differences between the substituted and substituting functions in individual deviations is usually far greater than those which affect the entire speech community and lead eventually to historical changes.
3. In the historical development of language, we are dealing with a mass of interacting individuals who inherit linguistic features or adopt them from their contemporaries, whereas in the case of individual linguistic deviations we have to do with one passive individual who is exposed to the influence of his environment, but is incapable of adopting all its linguistic features because of a defective speech apparatus. He is thus forced to replace the difficult features by simpler ones, or to omit them altogether.
It is precisely this defectiveness, the individual character of the deformation, that constitutes the main difference between individual pathological deviations and the historical changes affecting an entire speech community with its organically and linguistically normal individuals.
4. A similar distinction must be made between the language of pathological individuals and that of children learning to speak. The language of children is a subject for a special field of study, which we may call linguistic embryology. The phenomena of acoustic and mental substitutions occurring in child language are similar to those of individuals suffering from speech defects. But the deviations in speech of children are transient and due to the underdeveloped state of their speech organs, whereas the linguistic deviations of defective individuals are fixed and chronic and cannot be removed, unless we remove the organic defects themselves, a process which is rarely possible.
5. It is otherwise difficult to draw a fixed line between the language of children and that of linguistically defective persons. Some children develop linguistically very rapidly and quickly acquire the average linguistic norm of the given speech community. Usually, children speak in their own way for a certain period of time, acquiring only gradually a clear pronunciation and correct speech. For the duration of that intermediary period, children, too, must be considered linguistically pathological. In addition, we must distinguish various types of linguistic deviations. Some begin with birth, and some develop later in life as a result of physical or nervous disorders. Deviations of the first type are either absolutely incurable or may be overcome in part or completely. Deviations of the second type differ from the incompletely formed language of children only quantitatively, i.e., by their degree of duration. The case of Wladek M., presented below, illustrates the type of linguistic deviations which slowly recede but which cannot be completely eliminated.
6. We distinguish two aspects of language: the psychological and the physiological, cerebration and phonation, or: (1) language in the proper sense of the word, and (2) pronunciation. The essence of language lies, naturally, in cerebration, i.e., in the brain processes, which are inherited through zoological development and tractable to the influence of the environment. Phonation, however is indispensable as the final sign of cerebration, as the connecting link between the cerebration of different individuals endowed with the faculty of language.
In accordance with the above distinction, we may further divide linguistic deviations into cerebral and phonational. In either case there is either a complete inability to function, or the ability to substitute one function for another. The inability to function may apply only to some elements of the language, or to the language as a whole. In the latter case we deal with complete alalia, or muteness.
7. Pathological linguistic phenomena are called aphasia. Aphasia may be complete or partial. In the first case the individual does not speak at all; in the second, he is incapable of controlling some elements of the linguistic performance.
8. Since I consider the study of such phenomena very interesting and useful, I have devoted particular attention to the language of partial aphasics and to the language of children, whenever the opportunity presented itself. In this way I have collected a great deal of material on the pathology and embryology of language.
I should add that the material in my possession pertains almost exclusively to the phonational aspect of language, i.e., to the pronunciation of the studied individuals. I have had little opportunity to investigate the cerebral aspect of language systematically.
Gradually I intend to develop and publish the materials I have collected. I will begin with the description of the linguistic deviations of a partial aphasic, Wladek M.
... 104. Leaving all generalizations for a special work that will contain the results of a thorough investigation of the different forms of pathology and embryology of language, I shall limit myself to the following remarks:
105. 1. As W.M.s incorrect pronunciation gradually improved, some of his deficiencies were eliminated, but others were not. It is possible to eliminate, at least partially, deficiencies due to laziness and apathy or to the dynamics of the organism. Thus, for example, instead of the original substitution of the consonant group xn by n, xn was pronounced. But deficiencies due to the structure of the body, to anatomical defects, cannot be eliminated. Thus, W.M. will obviously never regain r, t or k, g. He will never learn to distinguish in his speech the three series of consonants (1 )s, z, c, З, š, ž, č, З,(З) š, ž, č, З, although he distinguishes them clearly by ear. The overall defect of W.M.s pronunciation, which is muffled and nasal, will also forever remain in his speech.
106. 2. W.M.s pronunciation is characterized by a prevalent use of dental consonants, i.e., of t, d and their combinations, instead of k, g, and other sounds. Something similar (i.e., the increasing prevalenee of dental consonants, or the condensation of speech functions toward the end of the tongue) occurred in the historical development of various language groups, especially Indo-European.
107. 3. At first W.M. replaced both mid vowels о and e by the vowel a; then he replaced only e by a, and finally he acquired both mid vowels. This indicates the physiological difficulty of pronouncing the mid vowels. It is also known that the original Indo-European о and e became a in the history of some languages of that family. For example, Sanskrit has a instead of the original e and o; German and Lithuanian have a instead of the original o, etc.
108. 4. The replacement of consonant clusters in W.M.s speech at a very early date resembles the replacement of clusters in the Finnic languages (Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian and others); e.g., st > t,zd> d.
109. 5. As in all languages (and, more generally, in anything that develops) one can distinguish strata in W.M.s speech that originated at different periods of time. Cf. my remarks about the words pamiśno ć, majiti etc. (§ 80, 91 <not included here>).