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Disruption of Semantic Links as a Communication Problem: the Example of Vincent van Gogh's Letters

Student: Inna Golovataya

Supervisor: Irina Lagutina

Faculty: School of Foreign Languages

Educational Programme: Foreign Languages and Intercultural Communication (Bachelor)

Final Grade: 7

Year of Graduation: 2019

Mental illnesses are frequently considered in terms of behavioral patterns and speech, however, manner of writing is a narrow specific area which requires deeper research. The twentieth century has raised the level of study of the phenomenon of "speech" in its various aspects including psycholinguistics. Psycholinguistics is the study of the mental aspects of the language and speech which is primarily concerned with the ways in which language is represented and processed in the brain (Dotdash publishing family, 2017). Overall, psycholinguistics involves two general questions: what knowledge does our brain apply in order to let us practically use the language and what cognitive mechanisms function in the ordinary use of language. This research will focus on the main peculiarities which emphasize gaps in semantic connections in Vincent van Gogh’s letters, nineteenth-century Dutch painter who had a great variety of diagnoses concerning his mental illness. Van Gogh's mental abnormalities progressed in parallel with his creative growth, which was reflected in his manner of writing, disturbing descriptions of painful conditions and frightening incidents (such as cut ear, eating colors and periodic hallucinations). It is important to note that the deterioration of the state of the artist in no way reduces his literacy and possession of the word, but emphasizes the inevitable changes that came into his writing with the development of the disease.

Full text (added May 18, 2019)

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