Item Details

Non-verbal vocalizations, dementia and social interaction

Issue: Vol 8 No. 2 (2011)

Journal: Communication & Medicine

Subject Areas: Healthcare Communication Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/cam.v8i2.135


In later stages of Alzheimer’s disease many people will engage in noise-making (screaming and other kinds of sounds), often experienced as interruptive by others. A problem with the noise-making is the difficulty in understanding the meaning of the noise. This study addresses two questions: to what extent is noise-making responsive to the ongoing interaction and is noise-making regarded as meaningless behavior by other participants? The analysis of selective examples shows that noises may be fitted into the conversational interaction to a certain degree and in some instances is also responsive to interaction. The co-participants tend to treat the noises as meaningful. A general conclusion is that if utterances and responses in interaction are treated as if they are meaningful, they will become meaningful in their consequences for all participants.

Author: Lars-Christer Hydén

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