Using others' words: Conversational use of reported speech by individuals with aphasia and their communication partners

Julie A. Hengst, Simone R. Frame, Tiffany Neuman-Stritzel, Rachel Gannaway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reported speech, wherein one quotes or paraphrases the speech of another, has been studied extensively as a set of linguistic and discourse practices. Researchers agree that reported speech is pervasive, found across languages, and used in diverse contexts. However, to date, there have been no studies of the use of reported speech among individuals with aphasia. Grounded in an interactional sociolinguistic perspective, the study presented here documents and analyzes the use of reported speech by 7 adults with mild to moderately severe aphasia and their routine communication partners. Each of the 7 pairs was videotaped in 4 everyday activities at home or around the community, yielding over 27 hr of conversational interaction for analysis. A coding scheme was developed that identified 5 types of explicitly marked reported speech: direct, indirect, projected, indexed, and undecided. Analysis of the data documented reported speech as a common discourse practice used successfully by the individuals with aphasia and their communication partners. All participants produced reported speech at least once, and across all observations the target pairs produced 400 reported speech episodes (RSEs), 149 by individuals with aphasia and 251 by their communication partners. For all participants, direct and indirect forms were the most prevalent (70% of RSEs). Situated discourse analysis of specific episodes of reported speech used by 3 of the pairs provides detailed portraits of the diverse interactional, referential, social, and discourse functions of reported speech and explores ways that the pairs used reported speech to successfully frame talk despite their ongoing management of aphasia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-156
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Aphasia
  • Discourse analysis
  • Reported speech

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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