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In psychology and psychiatry, clanging refers to a mode of speech characterized by association of words based upon sound rather than concepts. For example, this may include compulsive rhyming or alliteration without apparent logical connection between words. This is associated with the irregular thinking apparent in psychotic mental illnesses (e.g. schizophrenia).[1]

Clanging refers specifically to behavior that is situationally inappropriate. While a poet rhyming is not evidence of mental illness, disorganized speech that impedes the patient's ability to communicate is a disorder in itself, often seen in schizophrenia.[2]

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  1. ^ Peralta, Victor; Cuesta, Manuel J.; de Leon, Jose (March 1992). "Formal thought disorder in schizophrenia: A factor analytic study". Comprehensive Psychiatry. 33 (2): 105–110. doi:10.1016/0010-440X(92)90005-B. PMID 1544294. 
  2. ^ Covington MA, He C, Brown C, Naçi L, McClain JT, Fjordbak BS, Semple J, Brown J (Sep 2005). "Schizophrenia and the structure of language: the linguist's view". Schizophr Res. 77 (1): 85–98. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2005.01.016.