An Interactional and Multimodal Study of Post-Stroke Aphasia in Speech Therapy Sessions
Third-party funded project
Project title An Interactional and Multimodal Study of Post-Stroke Aphasia in Speech Therapy Sessions
Principal Investigator(s) Merlino, Sara
Organisation / Research unit Departement Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften / Fachbereich Französische Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft
Project start 01.07.2018
Probable end 30.06.2019
Status Completed

The project investigates post-stroke aphasia from the perspective of Interactional Linguistics and Conversation Analysis. By using a qualitative methodology based on video-recordings and transcriptions of naturally occurring interactions with aphasic speakers, it contributes to an innovative line of research about aphasia that has developed during the last decades in the field of linguistics. It investigates how aphasic speakers, despite their linguistic impairments, actually communicate in situated contexts of interaction. Focusing on the speech therapy setting, where aphasia is both assessed and treated, the study analyses in detail the communication between the aphasic speaker and the speech therapist. It investigates the organization of speech therapy as a form of institutional interaction and describes the interactive realization of testing and therapeutic activities. It explores the role played by multimodality – that is embodied resources (such as gestures, body position and gaze) and artefacts (such as pictures and objects) – in the recovery of language. It analyses how disfluencies, and particularly word-finding difficulties, which constitute one of the most remarkable feature of aphasia, are interactively handled by the communicative partners of the aphasic speakers, as well as the way they are grammatically structured – with a focus on French. Finally, the project aims to connect the micro-practices used by participants in interaction to the macro dimension of the therapeutic institution and to more general issues related to the pathology.

Keywords aphasia; speech and language therapy; interactional linguistics; conversation analysis; multimodality;
Financed by University of Basel

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