Pragmatics in Dementia Discourse
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Om Pragmatics in Dementia Discourse
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.