Tid: Måndagen 17 januari kl. 15-17  Plats: C307

Storytelling in healthy and aphasic speakers: What pathology can tell us about the norm

Mira Bergelson (1) mira.bergelson@gmail.com, Olga Dragoy (2)
(1) Moscow State University (Russia), (2) University of Groningen (the

This study is based on the results of the experiments in studying storytelling strategies at aphasic speakers and comparing the results with those at the control group.

It has been repeatedly shown that expressive speech is far more impaired in particular aphasia types, which gives grounds for distinguishing between non-fluent and fluent aphasic speakers. But difficulties at the word and sentence level (micro level) do not exclude a sensible story and a communicative success (macro level).
The reverse may be true as well: spared grammar and vocabulary do not assure coherent speech to the point. The question of how strengths and weaknesses at the local structure level relate to the success at the discourse level presents a great challenge for aphasic speech research.

The goal of this study was to compare aphasic and normal discourse. To do this, the relationship between breakdown and success at micro- and macrostructural, or sentence VS discourse – levels was further explored using the data from four healthy Russian speakers (matched by age and gender with the aphasic group). It is presumed that healthy speakers when requested to produce a story will neither have problems at the microstructural level as non-fluent aphasic speakers do, nor slide into a descriptive discourse associated with cognitive deficit in fluent aphasic speakers.

The experimental methods typically associated with aphasia studies reveal two strategies used by healthy speakers in order to keep balance between description and narration, between information and interaction. Thus they complement to our understanding of the story as a discourse genre.

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