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Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Nick Miller
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Bilingual speakers with Alzheimer's disease (AD) may use the wrong language for the setting/interlocutor or produce what appears to be an inappropriate mixture of their two languages. The few published studies to date examining this phenomenon have investigated it within a discourse analysis framework, interpreting the behaviour either as a problem of language choice (choosing the appropriate language in which to converse) or language separation (keeping two languages separate in production). These authors contend that while such a distinction is theoretically feasible, it is extremely problematic to apply these labels to actual conversational data. Using examples from free conversations of four bilingual women with AD, some of the difficulties inherent in a discourse analytic approach to this question are illustrated. Applying principles from conversation analysis (CA) it is argued that a methodology that is data driven and context relevant offers more valuable insights into individuals' language use and interaction. It avoids the inconclusiveness of the choice separation dichotomy and offers more constructive accounts of whether and how language behaviour is appropriate or not.
Author(s): Friedland D, Miller N
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Print publication date: 01/04/1999
ISSN (print): 0268-7038
ISSN (electronic): 1464-5041
Publisher: Psychology Press
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