Alzheimer Discourse: Some Sociolinguistic Dimensions

By Via Ramanathan | Go to book overview

5
Repair as a Discontinuity Element: Examining Tina's Talk With N

If we then ask about the nature and role of psychological genre -- the reader's conception of what kind of story or text he is encountering or "recreating" -- we are in fact asking not only a morphological question about the actual text, but also a question about the interpretive processes that are loosed by the text in the reader's mind.

-- Jerome Bruner ( 1986)

In the previous chapter we saw how Tina's ability to engage in recall is partially inhibited by dyadic pauses. We also saw how the particular positioning of my turns across the data inhibited recall. This chapter calls attention to another discontinuity, element, namely repair, and another audience, namely Tina's husband, N. As we shall see, one reason why Tina's talk with N is illformed is because his extensive repair turns do not facilitate recall from her. In some cases they serve to alter her talk; in others they impede her ongoing turns. Before we get into the data, however, we begin by discussing the notion of repair and some ways in which I use this term in the analysis.


REPAIR AS A DISCONTINUITY ELEMENT

Repair utterances -- the way Schegloff, Jefferson, and Sacks ( 1977) used the term -- refer to those utterances made either by speaker or recipient toward altering/correcting a prior utterance. They call attention to two important distinctions in repair: first, self-initiated contrasted with other-initiated repair (i.e., repair by a speaker without prompting vs. repair after prompting) second, self-repair (that done by the speaker of the problem or repairable item), contrasted with other-repair (that done by another party). The following segments are illustrations of each:

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