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Picture of Pragmatics in Dementia Discourse

Pragmatics in Dementia Discourse

Editor(s): Boyd H. Davis, Jacqueline Guendouzi, Reyes Gómez Morón

Book Description

Alison Wray notes that “Alzheimer’s Disease affects language in many different ways. Directly, language processing is undermined by damage to the language areas of the brain. Indirectly, language is compromised by short term memory loss, distortions in perception, and disturbed semantic representation . . . All of this makes AD an obvious focus of interest for linguists and in particular, those interested in the field of pragmatics – yet a striking amount of what is published about AD language is written by non-linguists. AD language is independently researched in at least psychology, neuroscience, sociology, clinical linguistics and nursing. Each discipline has its own methods, theories, assumptions and values, which affect the research questions asked, the empirical approach taken in answering them, and how the evidence is interpreted. Without a more reliable holistic picture informed by linguistic and applied linguistic theory and methods, approaches to diagnosis and care risk being constrained, and may result in a less than satisfactory experience for all those whose daily life involves the direct or indirect experience of AD.”

This book is an attempt to address some of the above issues noted by bringing together a group of researchers whose work focuses on interaction in the context of dementia. The authors represent the fields of linguistics, clinical linguistics, nursing, and speech pathology, and each chapter draws on methods associated with discourse analysis and pragmatics to examine how people with dementia utilize language in the presence of cognitive decline. In addition, the book seeks to generate academic discussion on how researchers can move forward to focus greater attention on this topic. In particular, this collection will inspire researchers involved in mainstream theoretical linguistics and pragmatics to turn their attention to the discourse of dementia and investigate what it has to say about our knowledge of language theories, and, in addition, to challenge what we know about ourselves as subjective beings.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-5167-1
ISBN-10: 1-4438-5167-1
Date of Publication: 01/11/2013
Pages / Size: 295 / A5
Price: £44.99


Dr Boyd H. Davis is Bonnie E. Cone Professor of Teaching in Applied Linguistics/English and Professor of Gerontology at University of North Carolina – Charlotte. Her fifteen-year longitudinal collection of conversational interviews with persons with Alzheimer’s disease is one cohort in the online digital Carolinas Conversations Collection, sponsored by the National Libraries of Medicine. Her areas of research include sociohistorical approaches to stance, pragmatics and narrative.

Dr Jacqueline Guendouzi is the Knights of Babylon Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Interim Department Head of Health and Human Sciences at Southeastern Louisiana University. Her areas of research include discourse analysis, pragmatics, and psycholinguistics in the context of communication disorders. In particular, she is interested in how cognitive deficits in dementia impact language processing.