lapsus linguae


[lap-suhs; Lat. lahp-soos]
Lapsus is an involuntary mistake made while writing or speaking. According to Freud, in his early psychoanalytic theory it represents a missed deed that hides an unconscious desire.

In literature there are a number of different lapsus depending on the mode of correspondence:

  • Lapsus Linguae (pl. same): slip of the tongue.
  • Lapsus Calami: slip of the pen. With the variation of Lapsus Clavis: slip of the typewriting
  • Lapsus Manu: slip of the hand. Similar to Lapsus Calami.
  • Lapsus Memoriae: slip of memory.

Types of Slips of the Tongue

Slips can happen on any level:

  • Syntactic - is instead of was.
  • Phrasal slips of tongue - I'll explain this tornado later.
  • Lexical/semantic - moon full instead of full moon.
  • Morphological level - workings paper
  • Phonological (sound slips) - snow flurries becoming flow snurries

Additionally, each of these three levels of error may take various forms:

  • Anticipations: Where an early output item is corrupted by an element belonging to a later one. Thus "reading list" - "leading list".
  • Perseverations: Where a later output item is corrupted by an element belonging to an earlier one. Thus "waking rabbits" - "waking wabbits".
  • Deletions: Where an output element is somehow totally lost. Thus "same state" - "same sate".
  • Shift: Moving a letter. Thus "black foxes" - "back floxes".
  • Haplologies: half one word and half the other. Thus "stummy" instead of "stomach or tummy". (Smith, 2003)

See also

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