Part of the book: Latest Findings in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research
The chapter aims to present and discuss the contributions of Linguistics to the study of aphasias, especially regarding the power of discursive theories to subsidize language assessment and therapeutic follow-up with aphasic individuals. Jakobson, in 1956, based on Saussure’s approach and on Luria’s neuropsychological theory, was the first scholar to call for the participation of linguists in this field, once “aphasia is a problem of language”. Nonetheless, aphasia does not disturb only linguistic formal levels – phonetical-phonological, syntactic, lexical-semantic –, but also pragmatic and discursive aspects of language that are constitutive of meaning processes involved in the social use of language. Unfortunately, more traditional approaches to language assessment and to the follow-up work are exclusively based on metalinguistic tasks, which do not take into consideration the subjective and contextual aspects of language functioning. The experience we have acquired over more than thirty years within the field of Neurolinguistics has shown that qualitative longitudinal researches – mainly case studies – are a privileged locus to seek for evidences of how the linguistic levels are impacted in the several forms of aphasia. Such understanding, in turn, favor the therapeutic work towards more contextualized activities, in order to help the individuals to reorganize their linguistic-cognitive processes.
Part of the book: Aphasia Compendium