Constructing meaning through prosody in aphasia

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Despite a vocabulary that consists of only three words Yes, No and And, Chil acts as a powerful speaker in conversation. He does this, embedding his limited lexicon within larger contextual configurations in which different kinds of meaning making processes including prosody, gesture, sequential organization, and operations on his talk by his interlocutors create a whole that goes beyond any of its constitutive parts. This paper explores the role played by prosody in this process. It focuses on how Chil is able to build varied action that is precisely fitted to its local environment by using different prosody over similar, and at times identical, lexical items, here pairs of No’s. More generally it argues that analysis of human action should focus on the interdependent organization of diverse meaning making resources.


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