The ability to communicate through oral language, or commonly known as speech, is the physical medium through which most human beings communicate.

This speech is the sound execution of language and is one of the ways in which the participants in it perceive the intentions and content of the other.

But sometimes this ability is truncated due to neurological problems, or certain psychopathological disturbances among others. In these cases, alterations in verbal communication appear such as glossomania, in which the person is capable of elaborating a verbal discourse but without any communicative value .

What is glossomania?

If the word glosomania is dissected according to its etymological roots, it can be seen that it is constituted by two Greek roots: glossa whose current translation would be language and from the suffix mania which is interpreted as having obsession, obsessive impulse or pathological habit and passionate hobby.

From these roots it is already possible to intuit that their meaning will be related to an altered or distorted production of oral language.

In the field of psychology and psychiatry, glossomania refers to the elaboration of language in such a way that linguistic units, such as lexemes, phonemes, morphemes and sentences, are unconsciously selected by the subject and combined on the basis of phonological or semantic coincidences, and not according to a coherent order of meaning.

This type of elaboration is typical of certain psychopathological conditions , trance states or neurological problems produced by different causes such as tumours or intoxications.

Glossomania vs. glossolalia

Although both coincide in the fact that they are alterations in the production of language linked to psychiatric disorders, unlike glossomania, glossolalia consists of the fluid vocalization of an intelligible language, composed of words that the patient invents and in rhythmic and repetitive sequences more appropriate to child speech; creating a discourse in which practically everything is neologism.

As a curious fact, in some religious beliefs this alteration is known as “gift of tongues” ; considering the speeches as a divine language unknown to the speaker, and that places the person who executes it as chosen by that divinity or divinities.

Speech in mental illness

A characteristic of some mental illnesses is that people are not able to hold a conversation or make any kind of speech with apparently logical connections between words and expressions; it is very difficult for the patient to communicate, and for the listener to understand the ideas, facts and wills that he is trying to communicate.

Generally, inconsistent discourses are not considered problems of language, but rather of another dimension . The first impression that these alterations provide is that of being a problem of communication, that is, pragmatic; observing initially a difficulty in interacting with others and with the environment.

For a person to be able to communicate orally or perform any type of speech, all cognitive skills need to be well grounded, since speech is produced and understood at a level of language processing that requires it.

Furthermore, the prerequisites of attention, memory, knowledge of the context and of the interlocutors are absolutely necessary for successful oral correspondence. If all these conditions are not met, language becomes poor and limited, or an uncontrolled and inconsistent source of words. This last alteration is the one that takes place in glossomania.

However, glossomania itself is not a psychiatric disorder, but rather a symptom of disorders such as neurosis and schizophrenia, resulting from an alteration in the organization of thought. That is to say, an adulteration of the selection, ordering and expression of that which the person wants to communicate.

Glossomania in schizophrenia

Glossomedium schizophrenia is an extremely surprising and very rare disorder, being more typical of patients with a high cultural level.

1. Schizophrenic glossary

In this type of schizophrenia, expression can become abundant and fluid, requiring the viewer’s attention and participation to become understandable.

If you pay attention to the patient’s speech you can notice changes at the word level but, in addition, there are also alterations at the sentence level . The following can be observed in these people.

Incomprehensible neologisms

They are neologisms that the person creates and that are not usually easily understood. They are often newly pronounced words and vary in both phonetic and semantic content. In addition, they can include formations from opposing words, such as “is black and white” instead of “is grey”.

This patient-created language can even be in whole sentences. Although few patients manage to execute such a skill, which some experts call “hyperphasia”.

Some experts theorize that these intellectually gifted people, faced with the difficulties of understanding and before the speeches of other people incomprehensible from their point of view, concentrate only on their own speech, creating the aforementioned glossolalia.

Deviations in lexical compositions

In these deviations the patient makes two-word compositions that do not normally form a composite. Like “I need a pen”.

Deviations in morpheme compositions

In this case the semantic potential of the sentences is relatively understandable. For example: “I’ve been paging all day”, instead of “I’ve been reading all day”.