Lapsus is a Latin term that can be translated as “slip”. The concept is used to name the mistake wave lack that is committed by carelessness. For instance: “Sorry I mistook your name, I had a slip”, “The minister’s slip generated laughter among those present”, “Grandma had a slip and put the soap in the freezer”.
It is often understood that a slip is a failed act, that is, an act that expresses something different or contrary to what the subject wanted to express intentionally. Lapsus, in this sense, can be a verbal manifestation, a gesture or one action.
Starting from that meaning, we have to say that there is what is known as a “slip of the tongue”. This is a locution of Latin origin that is identified by being made up of two terms: “lapsus”, which can be translated as “error”, and “linguae”, which is synonymous with language. It is used in a common way to record that someone has made a mistake when speaking.
It must be established that there are many types of lapses when expressing verbally. However, among the most significant are the following:
• Lapses of anticipation, which is the one that occurs when the person in question, when making a sentence, places the end at the beginning and vice versa.
• Substitution lapse, which is one that is identified because, involuntarily, what would be a change in context takes place.
• Change lapses. This is one of the most frequent types of lapses and consists, as its name suggests, in using one word instead of another that is similar in pronunciation but has a totally different meaning.
For Sigmund Freud, the lapse occurs when what the person it means it conflicts with an unconscious thought or desire for it. Although the failed act is exposed in its own manifestation, understanding the reason for the lapse can be complicated since the Explanation it is not usually affordable on a conscious level.
Take the example of a candidate for deputy who performs a speech with the intention of seducing the voters. The man wants to show himself as someone honest who is part of a new political party. The candidate intends to highlight his honesty and indicates: “I can assure you that, if I am elected, there will be corruption”. Of course, his intention was to point out: “I can assure you that, if I am elected, there will be NO corruption”. A lapse led him to commit that failure that could be interpreted as an unconscious manifestation of what he believes will happen if he wins the election.
In addition to all the above, we would have to point out that there are also so-called memory lapses. These are momentary in nature and consist of a person, involuntarily, making mistakes or forgetting when trying to remember something in particular.
When these take place, special attention must be paid since, as a general rule, they indicate that the individual has a mental problem, although, sometimes, they can be a simple symptom of stress or exhaustion.