Co-constructing structure and social action of aided turn in everyday conversations

Irina Savolainen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


People who can not speak may use different communication aids, such as communication books (CB) and speech-generating devices (SGD), for replacing their lack of speech. The communication aids effect non-speaking and speaking participants’ practices in conversations. Within the framework of conversation analysis (CA), this dissertation follows four aided communicators between the ages of 7 and 18 years old and examines their conversations with their mothers, peers, and speech-language therapists. The focus is on the participants’ co-construction practices and the social action of turns produced by CBs or SGDs. The database consists of 21 video-recorded conversations, in which the participants engage in a typical interactive situation without a specific goal and discuss their topics of choice. The present study aims to extend our understanding of the co-construction process in aided conversations. As logopedic research (speech-language therapy), the aim is also to offer implications that aided communicators and their partners could utilize to facilitate their conversations. Each of the three original studies of this dissertation focus on the progress of aided conversations during the participants’ co-construction process. The research phenomena are turn-transitions, participants’ multimodal practices, and several interactional resources for co-construction of the social actions. The data proved to be a unique possibility to study mostly fluent aided conversations, in which aided communicators were active participants. It offers a view of the essential features of successful aided conversations, such as slowness, the co-constructed nature, and the role of the communication aid. The current study also shows how several aided communicators’ affect the flow of conversations by using many means similar to their speaking partners. The synthesis of the three studies’ results, as well as those of previous studies, offer an overall view of the co-construction process of aided turns. The co-construction model and the different structures of multimodal turns help us to see how aided and spoken conversations differ. The critical points are the transitions between turns and symbols and participants’ practices in coping with insufficient linguistic and prosodic resources of aided turns. The results illuminate participants’ multimodal and synchronized actions during transitions and their practices in utilizing several interactional resources in the co-construction of social actions. The present study also demonstrates how the concept of aided conversation is a general term that can refer many kinds of interaction. The amount of co-operation that aided conversations demand depends on, for example, the communication aid and the form of utterance. Aided conversations are often (but not always) slower than spoken conversations. The long silent moments, however, do not mean that conversations are not proceeding, or participants consider them to be a challenge. The results of the current study are useful for video-assisted guidance in speech-language therapy, during which aided communicators and their partners observe and develop their conversational practices. It offers a list of questions that are useful for video guiding. The large scope of the present study helps to point toward gaps in the present knowledge of aided conversations and give ideas for future research.
Original languageEnglish
  • Launonen, Kaisa, Supervisor
  • Tykkyläinen, Tuula, Supervisor
  • Klippi, Anu, Supervisor
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Print ISBNs978-951-51-6527-5
Electronic ISBNs978-951-51-6528-2
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Bibliographical note

M1 - 97 s. + liitteet

Fields of Science

  • 6163 Logopedics

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