This conversation analytic (CA) study examined other-initiation of repair in speech-language therapy sessions and in free play situations by 5–8-year-old children with mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, also known as Specific Language Impairment, SLI, or Developmental Language Disorder, DLD. Other-initiations of repair are practices by which the recipient of the talk points out that there is a problem in hearing, understanding or inferencing previous talk in conversation. Other-initiations are frequently used for maintaining intersubjective understanding between the interlocutors in everyday interaction. The data consist of children’s video-recorded language assessment sessions, speech-language therapy sessions and two kinds of non-institutional play sessions: parent-child and peer play. All the repair sequences in which the children used other-initiations of repair were identified, transcribed and analysed following CA conventions. The transcriptions focused on speech and relevant embodied actions and included the conversational context preceding and succeeding repair sequences. The database consists of 112 other-initiations of repair by the children. In the analysis, the children's other-initiations of repair were examined for 1) the repair-initiation practices, 2) problems that they dealt with and 3) conversational context in which they emerged. Qualitative analysis of the children’s other-initiations of repair indicated that the children used similar repair-initiation practices that have been earlier described in adults' everyday conversations. Children’s repair-initiations could be classified as 1) open repair initiations 2) restricted repair initiations (question words, combination of question word and partial repeats of the trouble turn, partial repeats of the trouble turn and clausal repair initiations) and 3) candidate understandings. Some of the restricted repair initiations and candidate understandings included both speech and embodied actions. Quantitative analysis of the children’s other-initiation practices revealed differences between the younger children with severe language disorder and the older children with mild language disorder. These differences were not explicable by the traditional developmental hypothesis of increasing specificity and complexity. Contrary to this hypothesis, the younger children with severe language disorder used mainly specific candidate understandings, and the older children with mild language disorder used more often non-specific open repair initiations than the younger children with severe language disorder. The most common problems (in 94 % of the repair sequences) that the children were dealing with by other-initiation of repair were: 1) problems of hearing or understanding the previous turn generally 2) problems of unclear or uncertain reference 3) problems of an unfamiliar word or uncertain understanding of a word or concept 4) problems of inferencing the meaning or the implications of the previous turn(s). There were also differences between the younger children with severe language disorder and the older children with mild language disorder in the problems they faced and dealt with. At the same time, connections were found between the use of other-initiation practices and the trouble they were used to resolve. The older children with mild language disorder often used open repair initiations and candidate understandings and dealt with troubles that are commonly resolved with these practices: with open repair-initiations they treated the previous turn as generally problematic and with candidate understandings they mostly dealt with problems of uncertain references and inferencing the meaning or the implications of the previous turn(s). Meanwhile, the younger children with severe language disorder mostly used candidate understandings to deal with an uncertain meaning of a word or concept. Overall, younger children with severe language disorder used less other-initiations of repair than older children with mild language disorder. However, there were also differences between speech-language therapy sessions and the play sessions: The younger children with severe language disorder used other-initiations of repair mainly in language assessment sessions and in speech and language therapy sessions, whereas the use of other-initiations of repair by the older children with mild language disorder was more evenly divided between the different sessions. Thus, the difference in the quantity of other-initiations of repair between the children varied between the sessions. This finding shows that the selected data and the nature of the interaction studied can have a significant effect on the results and how they can be generalized. This observation is meaningful particularly for the designing and interpretation of comparative studies of children’s other-initiations of repair. The analysis of the conversational context showed that the troubles dealt with and thereby the uses of practices of other-initiation of repair were distributed differently between the different activities in conversation. Problems of unfamiliar word or uncertain understanding of a word or concept were mostly dealt with in speech-language therapy during task sequences. Problems of inferencing the meaning or the implications of the previous turn(s) were mostly dealt with during planning actions. Open initiations of repair were mostly used during task sequences in speech-language therapy and during free play in play sessions. The sequential local contexts during different kinds of actions were also analyzed. The way that the local contexts took shape can explain, together with the difficulties that the children had in receptive language, some of the differences in the problems faced and dealt with, and the use of different kinds of repair practices. The older children with mild language disorder often used non-specific open repair initiations. At the same time there were also several features in the local conversational contexts, which for their part seem to explain the need to use open repair initiations. According to CA, every turn by every interlocutor shapes the local context of conversation. The children’s own actions in the interaction seemed to have affected the way that the local context took shape preceding the open repair initiations. The younger children with severe language disorder in turn often used specific candidate understandings. This can be partly explained by the fact that they had considerably more lexical difficulties and often faced problems of uncertain understanding of a word or concept during task sequences in speech-language therapy. At the same time, the task setting sequence and the task materials at hand seemed to support the use of candidate understandings. The findings of this study show that in conversation, besides the age and language skills, several contextual factors and the troubles faced and dealt with can significantly affect children’s use of other-initiations of repair. These findings support the view that children’s developmental phase and language skills can affect the way that interactional situations are mutually shaped, the problems that the children are facing and dealing with in conversation and thereby children’s other-initiations of repair. By expanding research from principally studying children’s other-initiation practices to cover also the systematic analysis of contextual matters and the problems that the children are facing and dealing with, we could reach a more comprehensive and reliable understanding of children’s other-initiations of repair and their skills in dealing with problems of hearing, understanding and inferencing speech in conversation.
|Tila||Julkaistu - 2020|
|OKM-julkaisutyyppi||G5 Tohtorinväitöskirja (artikkeli)|
LisätietojaM1 - 194 s. + liitteet
- 6163 Logopedia