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Subjective Experiences of Word-Finding Difficulties in Aphasia: Metaphor Analysis of Written Text

EasyChair Preprint no. 6580

3 pagesDate: September 13, 2021


Word-finding difficulties (WFD) are a universal feature of aphasia. The processes involved are commonly investigated from psycholinguistic or neuropsychological perspectives, with little attention to the subjective experience of the impairment itself for people with aphasia (PWA). This study aims to discover how people with aphasia use metaphor to describe word-finding difficulties in written accounts, and to consider the implications for clinical practice.

Thirteen accounts of aphasia were selected, representing a wide range of aetiologies, social histories and impairment. All descriptions of word-finding and use were identified, and metaphors identified and coded in these selections. This allowed for patterns of metaphor usage to be explored within and across the texts, following a discourse-based approach (Semino, 2008). 

8146 metaphorical expressions referring to language use or impairment were identified in total, 4056 concerning expressive language (in writing, speech and thought). A number of source domains were used across all or most texts and constituted a majority of the instances of metaphorical language. The most common source domains (across all modalities) were PHYSICAL OBJECTS (1175), PERSONIFICATION (737), JOURNEY/LANDSCAPE (543) and CONTAINER (496). The use of these source domains to describe WFD showed a basis in the frameworks common in description of unimpaired language (Semino, 2008), with extension or elaboration to communicate salient aspects of the aphasic experience.

Variation across texts suggests conceptualization of aphasia may be influenced by social history and/or aphasia type. Metaphors used by an individual about early recovery can provide a conceptual framework within which to interpret later changes. Novel metaphors or creative elaboration of conventional metaphors highlight aspects of aphasia that usual ways of talking about language may fail to capture.

Keyphrases: content analysis, metaphor, word-finding difficulties

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Bethan Tichborne and Peggy Mercer and Arpita Bose},
  title = {Subjective Experiences of Word-Finding Difficulties in Aphasia: Metaphor Analysis of Written Text},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 6580},

  year = {EasyChair, 2021}}
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