Achieving progressivity: the influence of interactional task, sequence organisation and epistemic authority

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Much of the CA literature around aphasia emphasises the collaborative achievement of mutual understanding (Goodwin 2003; Klippi 2003) and the role of collaborative repair in this (Laakso 2012). However, Wilkinson (2007) reflects on the impact of repair sequences in aphasic conversation for the overarching preference in conversation for “progressivity” (Schegloff 1979) given that the linguistic limitations of aphasia lead both to a higher frequency of potential trouble sources and to significant difficulties in achieving successful repair completion. Thus, in aphasic conversation, we see, in a particularly marked sense, that "progressivity is pitted against intersubjectivity” (Heritage 2009 p.308). Moreover, it has been noted that, in some contexts, progressivity may take precedence over mutual understanding evidenced by the absence of repair initiation by the non-impaired interlocutor (Perkins 2003, Skelt 2012). This paper also examines the working out of the tension between progressivity and intersubjectivity, however the focus is on the interactional adaptations of two different aphasic speakers to their underlying linguistic impairments to achieve progressivity. In both cases, the speakers are shown to adopt novel uses of their linguistic resources to avoid highlighting their non-competence. The data involves two different interactional goals, a narrative task and a picture-naming task, which provide different epistemic contexts. The analysis demonstrates how the various interactions between sequence organisation, progressivity and epistemic authority have consequences for participant orientation to the turn constructional methods for achieving progressivity. The analysis also suggests that alongside the influence of interactional task and epistemic and sequential context, it may be relevant to understand individual aphasic speakers’ orientations to the tension between intersubjectivity and progressivity. This resonates with Laakso’s (2012) observations about the extent of variability in aphasic conversation that depends not just on the severity and type of aphasia but also on the discursive identities that participants adopt.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
Number of pages0
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 Jun 2013
EventAtypical Interaction: Conversation Analysis and Communication Impairments - Sheffield
Duration: 28 Jun 2013 → …


ConferenceAtypical Interaction: Conversation Analysis and Communication Impairments
Period28/06/13 → …


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