This book argues that almost everything we say depends, to a large extent, on whom or what we are interacting with, that social factors influence not only what we say, but the fluency and ease with which we say it as well. Thus, to acknowledge the contribution of some people who made this book happen is to thank them in a small way not only for shaping my ideas and views but also for enabling me to speak.
My professors at the University of Southern California -- Elaine Anderson, Ed Finegan, James Gee, Robert Kaplan, Elinor Ochs -- introduced me to the multifaceted prism that linguistics is and taught me in their individual ways that language use is always and everywhere social. James Gee, my mentor, told me on several occasions that his research was interest on the capital his mentors had given him; I think I know now what he meant. I like to think that the research represented in this book is interest gained on the time and effort he spent in reading several drafts and providing valuable feedback. His views about discourse analysis -- its moral function and humanistic value -- have influenced me enormously.
Although Robert Kaplan has little direct connection to Alzheimer discourse, his friendship and support in almost every other area of my life have been tremendous. Our overlapping research interests and e-mail discussions on issues in second language literacy have in some strange way percolated down to the analysis presented here. His foresight, clarity, and bird's-eye view of all matters linguistic are things from which I have benefited immensely. I have adopted him as my godparent whether he likes it or not.
I need to thank several other people as well. It was a pleasure to work with Don Ellis, the series editor, whose views and research on discourse I find stimulating. I especially appreciate his easygoing manner and the latitude he allowed me throughout this project. Heidi Hamilton's feedback on some of my writing and her general enthusiasm for promoting and furthering discourse analysis of language to, and by, "ailing" people reinforces my faith in the subject all the time. The faculty members in the English department at the University of Alabama -- especially Salli Davis and Catherine Davies -- have been most supportive. I am also grateful to the Research Grants Committee at UA for awarding me grant money to do some follow-up research one summer. Elsevier, Guilford Publications, and Cambridge University Press kindly gave me permission to reprint some of my research.
I cannot end this without mentioning the patients and their families who so obligingly found time for me, especially Tina, her husband, and Ellie. Nor can I end
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Publication information: Book title: Alzheimer Discourse:Some Sociolinguistic Dimensions. Contributors: Via Ramanathan - Author. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Mahwah, NJ. Publication year: 1997. Page number: ix.
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