Book: The Phonetics of Dysarthria
Chapter: 12. Conversational Speech and Dysarthria
In the chapters that follow we shift our attention to dysarthria secondary to Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We also see a change in methodological approach. The two studies discussed in the book so far have taken a primarily experimental approach to the study of dysarthria. The study described in the proceeding chapters differs in that the methodology adopted is qualitative and the focus is on naturally occurring, conversational speech. This study adopts the approach of interactional phonetics to investigate the manifestation of dysarthria secondary to MS in the conversational speech of two adults from Louisiana, USA. Specifically, we explore how difficulties associated with a breakdown in understanding arise in conversation and how these difficulties are subsequently managed. Crucially, due to the method adopted, these breakdowns in understanding were not elicited or scripted but instead arose naturally during the conversations we recorded. The phonetic and linguistic features of each breakdown are considered, and the subsequent conversational turns are analyzed under a framework inspired in part by conversation analysis (Schegloff, 2002). This chapter serves as an introduction to the study, outlining the features of dysarthria secondary to MS (12.2), the assumptions of interactional phonetics as a method of inquiry (12.4), and then the main research aims of the study (12.5).