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Adapting to conversation as a language-impaired speaker: Changes in aphasic turn construction over time
Citation Information: Communication. Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 79–97, ISSN (Online) 1613-4087, ISSN (Print) 0341-2059, DOI: 10.1515/CAM.2007.009, August 2007
- Published Online:
Using the methodology and findings of conversation analysis, we analyze changes in the talk of a man with aphasia (a language disorder acquired following brain damage) at two points in his spontaneous recovery period in the first months post-stroke. We note that in the earlier conversation (15 weeks post-stroke) two of the turn constructional methods he particularly makes use of are replacement (a form of repair) and extension. By the time of the latter conversation (30 weeks poststroke) these methods are less prevalent, while another repair operation, insertion, is now used in a particular way not seen in the earlier conversation. We suggest that these methods are means by which the aphasic speaker adapts his limited linguistic resources to the demands of constructing a turn-at-talk in conversation in order to lessen the extent of repair and delay with the turn and thus lessen the exposure of his linguistic noncompetence and his identity as ‘different’, ‘disabled’, or ‘language impaired’. These turn constructional methods are dynamic and change as the speaker recovers. We suggest that communication disorders such as aphasia can be problematic not only because of difficulties they can cause in conveying information or producing other social actions, but also because they can create difficulties in the presentation of self in everyday life.