Aspects of Confused Speech: A Study of Verbal Interaction between Confused and Normal Speakers

Aspects of Confused Speech: A Study of Verbal Interaction between Confused and Normal Speakers

Aspects of Confused Speech: A Study of Verbal Interaction between Confused and Normal Speakers

Aspects of Confused Speech: A Study of Verbal Interaction between Confused and Normal Speakers

Synopsis

A resource for journalists involved in reviewing artistic events or performances, written for practitioners and instructors.

Excerpt

In this book I examine the confused speech of people who have been diagnosed as having dementing illnesses. the verbal and behavioral confusion that dementia generates is highly distressing for victims and caregivers alike. in terms of medical provision, and both paid and unpaid care, coping with dementia represents a huge outlay in human and financial resources. It changes lives and relationships. and clearly the imagery connected with dementia and Alzheimer's disease indicates the potency that they have in the public imagination (Gubrium, 1986). Perhaps one reason for this is that almost everyone is aware of the disorienting and often unpleasant effect that confusion has when experienced even momentarily. Confusion is not an alien concept. Its effects are glimpsed by ordinary members, even if they cannot grasp what the effects of chronic disabling confusion must be like. Indeed, when I was working on this piece of research, several colleagues and friends jokingly offered themselves up for study as being "confused speakers". I was sometimes at a loss for words when I encountered this response, having seen the distress of many confused speakers who can no longer use talk competently in their social interactions. However, such joking responses indicate an ordinary member understanding that confused talk is not set apart from the rest of talk but is a phenomenon that everyone encounters and at times produces. So, although some of the participants of this study are people who have been diagnosed as having some sort of dementing illness, the discussion has broad practical implications for anyone interested in the phenomenon of talk.

During the course of the ensuing account I hope to draw attention to some of the issues surrounding confused speech, to show that it constitutes a form of trouble that can highlight features of ordinary talk as well as itself being an aspect of everyday interaction. An important starting point for these discussions is the recognition that all talk between two or more people is a joint venture. It is a lived experience, it takes place in a context, and it generates further contexts. the experience of confused speech is not merely the experience of confused speakers but . . .

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