Web-Enhanced Article: A Competent Speaker Who Can’t Speak: The Social Life of Aphasia


JLA 14.2 Web-Enhanced Article


A Competent Speaker Who Can’t Speak: The Social Life of Aphasia
Charles Goodwin

This article examines how a man able to speak only three words because of a severe stroke is nonetheless able to act as a competent speaker, indeed position himself as the teller of a complex story, by linking his limited talk and embodied action to the talk and action of others. This suggests a view of what it means to be a speaker that does not take as its point of departure the mental life and symbolic competence of the individual, but instead focuses on the practices required to participate in the public processes of sign exchange that constitute talk as a primordial site for human social life.

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