Multilingual Interaction and Dementia Edited by: Charlotta Plejert, Camilla Lindholm, Robert W. Schrauf

Hardback - 264 pages
Related Formats:
12 Apr 2017
Communication Disorders Across Languages
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


This book brings together international, linguistic research with a focus on interaction in multilingual encounters involving people with dementia in care and healthcare settings. The methodologies used (Conversation Analysis, Ethnography and Discursive Constructionism) capture practices on the micro-level, revealing how very subtle details may be of critical importance for the everyday well-being of participants with dementia, particularly in settings and contexts where there is a lack of a common verbal language of interlocutors, or where language abilities have been lost as a result of dementia. Chapters analyse the practices and actions employed by interlocutors to facilitate mutual understanding, enhance high-quality social relations and assure optimal care and treatment, in spite of language and cognitive difficulties, with an emphasis put on the participants’ remaining capacities, and what can be achieved between people with dementia and their interlocutors in a collaborative fashion. This book goes beyond the study of two-party communication to address multiparty and group interactions which are common in residential care and other healthcare settings and will be of interest to professionals and policy makers as well as to medical sciences and linguistics researchers and students.


This sparkling collection highlights the contribution of interactional research on dementia, revealing the complex interplay between the person with dementia and the people around them – staff, family and friends. The multilingual focus is a welcome acknowledgement that we live and conduct our affairs – in sickness and health – in a world of overlapping languages and cultures.

- Charles Antaki, Loughborough University, UK

This exciting collection significantly furthers our understanding of the challenges and opportunities of having more than one language as a resource for communication and care in the dementia context. It offers important new insights into the risks of over-simplifying the experience of a multilingual person with dementia and/or care-giver, and demonstrates the importance of fully accommodating people’s multilingual skills and needs.

- Alison Wray, Cardiff University, UK

This volume constitutes a milestone in putting the multilingual challenge in dementia care on the agenda. Through in-depth analyses of actual encounters involving persons with dementia, it highlights both the nature of the challenges involved in these complex communicative situations, and conversational practices that are shown to be effective in overcoming these challenges.

- Jan Svennevig, University of Oslo, Norway

Author Biography:

Charlotta Plejert is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the Department of Culture and Communication, and a researcher at Center for Dementia Research (CEDER) at Linköping University, Sweden. Her research interests include Conversation Analysis, communicative disabilities in children and adults, and second language interaction and acquisition.

Camilla Lindholm is Acting Professor at the Department of Finnish Language, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Helsinki. Her main research areas are interaction in institutional settings, and asymmetric interaction involving participants with communication impairment.

Robert W. Schrauf is Professor and Head of the Department of Applied Linguistics at the Pennsylvania State University. He conducts empirical research on language, ethnicity and Alzheimer’s disease, and methodological research on the use of mixed methods for making cross-cultural comparisons.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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