East Asian Pragmatics, Vol 5, No 2 (2020)

Pathological verbal repetition by Chinese elders with Dementia of Alzheimer’s Type: A functional perspective

Lin Zhu, Lihe Huang
Issued Date: 24 Jul 2020


Verbal repetition has been acknowledged as one of the most common symptoms in early Dementia of Alzheimer's Type (DAT). Despite previous attempts, the applicability of verbal repetition as an essential linguistic marker indicating this disease remains unexplored for Chinese DAT patients. This study collects Chinese DAT patients' daily conversation data to investigate both structural and functional aspects of pathological verbal repetition. Three major types are set regarding the cases of pathological repetition, respectively ‘unconscious concept repetition', ‘perseveration', and ‘involuntary word repetition'. The analysis focuses on what features these repetitions have from the perspective of ‘ideational function', ‘interpersonal function', and ‘textual function' within the framework of Systemic Functional Linguistics. A better understanding of pathological verbal repetition by DAT elders as the linguistic markers of cognitive impairment promotes effective communication between patients, nursing staff, and family members.

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DOI: 10.1558/eap.38862


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