Edited by Karlfried Knapp
[AILA Review 26] 2013
► pp. 79–99
Linguistics in the service of communication disorders
Linguistics and Communication Disorders are considered two different disciplines by most students and scholars in both fields as well as by researchers working in other relevant fields such as psychology and education. However, most core disorders, disabilities and delays in communicative ability directly concern language, especially in conjunction with human development from infancy to adulthood, but also as related to the loss of communicative skills in the aging brain. Linguistics thus emerges as a major source of scientific insights and practical applications for the field of communication disorders. While it is obviously impossible to account for the diverse and sometimes contradictory views of linguistics in a single paper, we nonetheless focus on the contribution of novel linguistic and psycholinguistic approaches to the current conceptualization of communication disorders from different perspectives. We first discuss the nature of evidence and research methods in the two disciplines, with the current usage-based and typological approaches to corpus linguistics as a case in point. Consequently, we discuss the interface of linguistics and communication disorders through four contexts which are considered infelicitous to language acquisition and processing. These are, as follows: (i) hearing loss, (ii) language impairment and dyslexia, (iii) growing up in a low socio-economic environment, and (iv) situations of bilingualism.
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