Conversation partner responses to problematic talk produced by people with aphasia: Some alternatives to repair

Barnes, Scott and Ferguson, Alison (2013) Conversation partner responses to problematic talk produced by people with aphasia: Some alternatives to repair. [Clinical Aphasiology Paper]

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A salient feature of conversations involving people with aphasia is the prevalence and persistence of threats to intersubjectivity (i.e. mutual understanding). Being unable to understand what is being said and its import can be a frustrating and distressing experience for people with aphasia and their conversation partners (cf. Laakso, 2003; Lock, Wilkinson, & Bryan, 2001; Wilkinson, 2007). One reason for the confronting nature of severe problems with intersubjectivity is that they arise infrequently during interactions involving people without communication disorders. That is, for the most part, people have few issues establishing what others are attempting to achieve through talking, be it greeting, arguing, inviting, complaining, or otherwise. When problems do emerge—when a speaker says “cup” when they intended to say “plate”; when an innocent question is heard as a complaint, and so on—social actors have various techniques for revising their conduct, and righting interactional business. Researchers using Conversation Analysis (CA) have described the practices that people employ to “repair” such difficulties with speaking, hearing, and understanding talk in conversation (e.g. Schegloff, Jefferson, & Sacks, 1977). This work has provided a solid foundation for examining fractures to intersubjectivity during conversations involving people with aphasia (e.g. Aaltonen & Laakso, 2010; Ferguson, 1994; Laakso & Klippi, 1999; Oelschlaeger & Damico, 2003). Studies of conversation repair and aphasia have contributed new knowledge about aphasia’s impact on everyday life, and led to the development of assessment and intervention procedures focused on repair (e.g. Lock et al., 2001; Whitworth, Perkins, & Turner, 1997). In particular, studies of conversation repair and aphasia have highlighted the key role of conversation partners in collaboratively resolving problems with intersubjectivity. However, an important feature of repair as an interactional practice is that it is optional. That is, when a listener is confronted with problematic talk from a speaker, they are not compelled to engage in repair, and may choose to elide the trouble altogether, or address it in some other way. For instance, Jefferson (2007) found that listeners occasionally responded to obvious speaker errors with minimal, receipting responses (e.g. mm, yeah) in place of repair. If the conversation partners of people with aphasia resist repair in this fashion, it has the potential to severely curtail the participation of people with aphasia. That is, without the benefit of collaborative repair efforts, the conversational contributions of people with aphasia may be more effortful and less successful, thereby restricting their ability to implement social action efficiently, or at all (see, e.g., Perkins, 2003, and Laakso, 2003, for some preliminary observations).

Item Type: Clinical Aphasiology Paper
Depositing User: OSCP Staff 1
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2013
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2016 15:13
Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference > Clinical Aphasiology Conference (2013 : 43rd : Tucson, AZ : May 28-June 2, 2013)

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