COPYRIGHT YEAR

2017

AUTHORS

Hanna K. Ulatowska, Gloria Streit Olness

TITLE

Aphasias

ABSTRACT

Aphasias are a family of language impairments. They are associated with focal damage to the neurological networks that support language and that are typically localized to the left cerebral hemisphere. This chapter examines the pragmatic abilities of people who have aphasia. Component, perspectivist and functional views of pragmatics are each considered, for their influence on the operationalization of pragmatic ability in aphasia. The chapter adopts a functional view of pragmatics, which assesses situated discourse produced by people with aphasia for its coherence, as a primary index of pragmatic ability. Specifically, samples of personal narratives told by people who have aphasia – both elicited personal narratives in monologue and personal narratives naturally embedded in conversation – are assessed for their referential and evaluative coherence. Natural reactions and responses of interlocutors to the situated narratives told by narrators with aphasia provide converging evidence for the pragmatic ability of the narrators. Examination of the samples suggests that coherence is intentionally and collaboratively developed by narrators with aphasia through a dynamic integration of linguistic content and contextual sources of meaning-making. This narrative coherence is interpreted as a manifestation of the pragmatic competence of people who have aphasia.

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