Clanging means that a person uses words together because of how they sound, regardless of whether the sentence makes sense. It can be a symptom of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia affects a person’s perceptions and behavior. This may present itself in speech, such as causing a person to speak very quickly or slowly, or otherwise finding it difficult to communicate in ways other people may find easier to understand.

Changes and difficulty in speaking are common in schizophrenia, and healthcare professionals may use this symptom, along with others, to diagnose this condition.

When a person displays clanging, they may string similarly sounding words together. These sentences may not make sense.

This article discusses what clanging is, how people with schizophrenia may experience clanging, other conditions that may display clanging, and when to contact a doctor.

Clanging means that a person chooses words based on their sound associations rather than their meaning. People may sound as if they are rapping, rhyming, or reciting a list of words rather than typical speech patterns.

Some examples of clanging include:

  • repeating rhyming words
  • repeating puns or overusing puns
  • repeating words that share certain features, such as alliteration

Clanging may appear alongside other language issues, such as:

  • pressured speech, which is when a person speaks suddenly, rapidly, or erratically
  • incoherent speech, which is when a person makes up words, uses non-words, or communicates in atypical ways
  • echolalia, which is when a person repeats back all or a portion of what someone else says
  • poverty of speech, which is when a person does not speak enough to provide information or answer a question

Schizophrenia causes formal thought disorders. A formal thought disorder is a condition that affects the way a person communicates and expresses themselves.

Doctors view formal thought disorders as a sign of psychosis, which is a symptom of schizophrenia.

People with schizophrenia commonly experience things others do not, including delusions and hallucinations. These experiences may alter their thinking, causing non-typical or harmful thoughts.

Schizophrenia may also cause people to have changes in their ability to have insight into their own behavior or into others’ thoughts and feelings.

All of these symptoms can affect the way a person expresses themselves.

A person may not notice that they are communicating in non-typical ways and may not realize that others may perceive these communications as unusual. Additionally, people may find that cognitive changes make expressing themselves more difficult.

Clanging is a sign of a thought disorder. A 2020 study emphasizes that language changes are common in schizophrenia.

Comparing 26 people with schizophrenia to 22 people without this condition, the researchers of the above study were correctly able to diagnose 89% of participants with schizophrenia by monitoring for language changes.

The researchers also found that language changes have an association with negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Negative symptoms include not feeling motivated or finding it difficult to feel pleasure.

Other conditions that cause thought changes might also cause clanging.

For example, a 2021 study found that clanging, excessive speech, and distractible speech were common among people with cannabis-induced psychosis.

Any diagnosis that affects the way a person thinks may also cause clanging. Some other examples include:

Schizophrenia is a medical condition that requires treatment. Medical remedies can help reduce symptoms and improve a person’s quality of life.

Research suggests that early treatment may help improve the management of this condition.

People should contact a doctor as soon as possible if they experience any symptoms of schizophrenia, such as:

  • hallucinations
  • delusions
  • disorganized speech
  • disorganized or catatonic symptoms
  • negative symptoms, such as feeling less or absent emotions

Schizophrenia is a medical condition that causes psychosis. Symptoms of this condition may include thought disorders that affect the way a person communicates, such as clanging.

Clanging is a language disorder where a person uses words together that do not necessarily make a coherent sentence. Some people may use rhyming words, alliterations, or puns.

Seeking early treatment for schizophrenia may reduce the impact symptoms have on a person’s life. Doctors can work with people to identify the right medication.

Healthcare professionals may also recommend other therapies alongside antipsychotic medication to provide a more holistic approach to condition management.