Since decades there is a growing body of research concerned with the conception of communication and language in the perception of age. This research has mostly been undertaken within the social sciences, gerontology and the field of nursing and caring professionals. These studies are based on a quantitative empirical-analytical research tradition and contribute considerably to our understanding of multiple communicative problems. Much of this research is in line with a view of old age as an era of physical decline and offers insights in linguistic phenomena with respect to aging processes of physical and communicative competences. There is also a growing, though still underexposed, body of studies with a different perspective on aging; these studies do not focus on declining competences, rather they provide in-depth analysis of the communicative competences of older people in various social contexts. This ‘contextual’ view on language use is strongly informed by a conception of communication as a jointly undertaken interactive event, where participants make use of their rich set of verbal and linguistic means to make themselves recognizable as an ‘aged’ person or as someone facing an ‘aged’ person. Occasionally we will refer to the broad scope of these latter studies which form the main impetus for this review.
Au, Rhoda, Philip Joung, Marjorie Nicholas, Loraine K. Obler, Robin Kass and Martin L. Albert
1995“Naming ability across the adult life span.”Aging and Cognition 24: 300–11.
2009“Politeness in institutional elderly care in Japan: A cross-cultural comparison.”. Journal of Politeness Research 5: 53–71. BoP
2010“Time to get up: Compliance-gaining in a Japanese eldercare facility.”Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 20 (1): 69–89.
2011In Communication in Elderly Care. Cross-Cultural Perspectives, ed. by Peter Backhaus, 129–144. London, New York: Continuum Int. Publishing Group.
Benwell, Bethan and Elizabeth Stokoe
2006Discourse and Identity. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Boden, Deirdre and Denise D. Bielby
1986“The way it was: Topical organization in elderly conversation.”Language and Communication 6: 73–89. BoP
Bower, Anne R.
1999“Evaluation in the bereavement narratives of elderly Irish American widowers.” In Old Age and Language: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, ed. by Heidi Hamilton, 77–90. Garland, New York: Garland.
1998Lebenssituation und Sprache. In Sprache und Kommunikation im Alter, ed. by Reinhard Fiehler and Caja Thimm. Opladen: Wiesbaden.
Brown, Darlene, Carol Mcwilliam and Catherine Ward-Griffin
2006“Client-centred empowering partnering in nursing.”Journal of Advanced Nursing 53 (2): 160–168.
Brown, Penelope and Stephen C. Levinson
1987Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Caporael, Linda R.
1981“The paralanguage of caregiving: Baby talk to the institutionalized aged.”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 40: 876–884.
Carstensen, Laura L.
1993“Motivation for social contact across the life span.” In Nebraska Symposium on Motivation: Vol. 40. Developmental Perspectives on Motivation, ed. by J. Jacobs, 209–254. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
2011Language and the Ageing Self: A Social Interactional Approach to Identity Constructions of Greek Cypriot Older Women. PhD Thesis. King’s College London.
Clark, Herbert H. and Thomas B. Carlson
1982“Hearers and speech acts.”. Language 58: 332–373. BoP
Coupland, Nik and Justine Coupland
1988“Age identity and elderly disclosure of chronological age.”York Papers in Linguistics 13. Selected Papers from the Sociolinguistics Symposium, 77–88.
Coupland, Nik, Justine Coupland, Howard Giles and Karen Henwood
1988“Accommodating the elderly: Invoking and extending a theory.”. Language in Society 17 (2): 1–42.
Coupland, Nik and Justine Coupland
1989“Language and later life: The diachrony of decrement predicament.” In The Handbook of Language and Social Psychology, ed. by Howard Giles and William P. Robinson, 451–468. London: Wiley.
Coupland, Nik, Justine Coupland and Karen Grainger
1991“Intergenerational discourse: contextual versions of ageing and elderliness.”. Ageing & Society 11: 189–208.
2009“Discourse, identity and change in mid-to-late life: Interdisciplinary perspectives on language and ageing.”. Ageing & Society 29: 849–861.
Cumming, Elaine and William E. Henry
1961Growing Old: The Process of Disengagement. New York: Basic Books.
Davies, Sue, Lorraine Ellis and Sara Laker
2000“Promoting autonomy and independence for older people within nursing practice: an observational study.”. Journal of Clinical Nursing 9: 127–136.
Deci, Edward L. and Richard M. Ryan
1985Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Human Behavior. New York, NY: Plenum.
Deci, Edward L. and Richard M. Ryan
1991“A motivational approach to self: Integration in personality.” In Nebraska symposium on motivation: Vol. 38. Perspectives on motivation, ed. by Richard Dienstbier, 237–288. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
1973Soziolinguistik. Exemplarische und kritische Darstellung ihrer Theorie. Empirie und Anwendung; mit kommentierter Bibliographie. Frankfurt a.M.: Athenäum Fischer. BoP
Drew, Paul and John Heritage
(eds)1992Talk at Work. Interaction in Institutional Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. BoP
2011“Age-related conduct and its consequences for social interaction – evidence from the Community and Home Care (CHC) corpus.” Conference presentation, 12th International Pragmatics Conference (panel ‘Identity and relationship construction with and among the elderly’). Manchester, July 5 2011.
2012“The use of the Dutch particle NOU in care services with elderly” (unpublished manuscript). Center for Language and Cognition, University of Groningen/Hanze University of Applied Sciences.
2008Altern, Kommunikation und Identitätsarbeit. Amades: Germany.
Charles Antaki and Chris Walton. 2008. “Saying no to the staff: an analysis of refusals in a home for people with severe communication difficulties.”. Sociology of Health and Illness 30 (1): 55–75.
Gallois, Cindy, Tania Ogay and Howard Giles
2005“accommodation theory: A look back and a look ahead.” In Theorizing about Communication Intercultural Communication, ed. by Wiliam B. Gudykunst, 121–148. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
1967Studies in Ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. BoP
Giles, Howard, Donald M. Taylor and Richard Bourhis
1973“Towards a theory of interpersonal accommodation through language: some Canadian data.”. Language in Society 2: 77–92.
Giles, Howard, Justine Coupland and Nik Coupland
(eds)1991Contexts of Accommodation. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. BoP
Good, Jeffrey S. and Wayne A. Beach
2005“Opening up gift-openings: birthday parties as situated activity systems.”. Text 25 (5): 565–593.
Giles, Howard, Sinfree Makoni and Rene M. Dailey
2005 “ In-tergenerational communication beliefs across the life span: Data from Ghana and South Africa.” Journal of Cross-cultural Gerontology 20: 191–211. BoP
2000“Action and embodiment within situated human interaction.”. Journal of Pragmatics 32: 1489–1522. BoP
1961Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates. New York: Random House.
1981“Footing.” In Forms of Talk, ed. by Erving Goffman, 124–159. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. BoP
2004a“Communication and the institutionalized elderly.” In Handbook of Communication and Aging Research, 2nd ed., ed. by Nussbaum John F. and Justine Coupland, 479–497. Mahwah and London: Laurence Erlbaum Associates.
2004b“Verbal play on the hospital ward: Solidarity or power?”. Multilingua 23: 39–59. BoP
Grow Kasser, Virginia and Richard M. Ryan
1999“The relation of psychological needs for autonomy and relatedness to vitality, well-being, and mortality in a nursing home.”Journal of Applied Social Psychology 29 (5): 935–954.
Hammarström, Gunhild and Sandra Torres
2010“Being, feeling and acting: A qualitative study of Swedish home-help care recipients’ understandings of dependence and independence.”. Journal of Aging Studies 24: 75–87.
Hamilton, Heidi E.
1999Language and Communication in Old Age. Multidisciplinary Perspectives. New York: Garland.
Hamilton, Heidi E.
2001“Discourse and aging.” In The Handbook of Discourse Analysis, ed. by Deborah Schiffrin, Deborah Tannen and Heidi E. Hamilton, 568–589. Malden and Oxford: Blackwell.
Hamilton, Heidi E.
2005A Guide to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines. Oxford: Oxford University press.
2010“Seeking exemptions from nursing home routines: Residents’everyday influence attempts and institutional order.”. Journal of Aging Studies 24: 292–301.
2006”‘Will you or can’t you?: Displaying entitlement in interrogative requests.”. Journal of Pragmatics 38: 1081–1104.
2009“Managing unavoidable conflicts in caretaking of the elderly: Humor as a mitigating resource.”. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 200: 103–127. BoP
2011“From home to institution: Roles, relations and the loss of autonomy in caretaking of old people in Denmark.” In Communication in Elderly Care: Cross-Cultural Approaches, ed. by Peter Backhaus, 90–111. London: Continuum Press.
1984Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology. Cambridge: Polity Press.
2004 “ Conversation analysis and institutional talk.” In Handbook of Language and Social Interaction, ed. by Robert Sanders and Kristine Fitch, 103–146. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Hester, Stephen and David Francis
2001“Is institutional talk a phenomenon? Reflections on ethnomethodology and applied conversation analysis.” In How to Analyse Talk in Institutional Settings: A Casebook of Methods, ed. by Alec Mchoul and Mark Rapley, 206–17. London: Continuum.
Hummert, Mary Lee.
1990“Multiple stereotypes of elderly and young adults: A comparison of structure and evaluations.”. Psychology and Aging 5: 183–193.
Hummert, Mary Lee.
1994“Stereotypes of the elderly and patronizing speech.” In Interpersonal communication in older adulthood, ed. by Mary Lee Hummert, John M. Wiemann, and John F. Nussbaum, 162–184. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Hummert, Mary Lee and Ellen B. Ryan
1996“Toward understanding variations in patronizing talk addressed to older adults: Psycholinguistic features of care and control.”. International Journal of Psycholinguistics 12 (2): 149–169.
1984Categorization and the Moral Order. Boston, etc.: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
1987“Syntactic complexity and the recall of prose by middle-aged and elderly adults.”. Experimental Aging Research 13: 47–52.
1992“Adults’ sentence fragments: Who, what, when, where and why.”. Communication Research 19: 445–58.
1994“Elderspeak: Speech accommodations to older adults.”. Aging and Cognition 1: 17–28.
Kemper, Susan and Tamara Harden
1999“Experimentally disentangling what’s beneficial about elderspeak from what’s not.”. Psychology and Aging 14 (4): 656–670.
2009 (mimeo). Marking Boundaries between Activities: The Particle nii in Estonian. Dept. of Modern Languages, Uppsala: Uppsala University. BoP
Labov, William and Joshua Waletzky
1967“Narrative Analysis: oral versions of personal experience.” In Essays on the Visual and Verbal Arts, ed. by June Helm, 12–44. Seattle: University of Washington Press. BoP
Levinson, Stephen C.
1992“‘Activity Types and Language’.” In Talk at Work, ed. by Paul Drew and John Heritage, 66–100. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2002“Uppmanande aktiviteter i hemtja¨nsten [Request activities within the home help service].” In Svenskans Beskrivning, ed. by Marketta Sundman and Anne-Marie Londen, vol. 25, 132–141. Åbo Universitet, Åbo.
2005“Language as social action: a study of how senior citizens request assistance with practical tasks in the Swedish home help service.” In Syntax and Lexis in Conversation: Studies on the Use of Linguistic Resources in Talk-in-Interaction, ed. by Auli Hakulinen and Margret Selting, 209–230. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Lindström, Anna and Trine Heinemann
2009“Good enough: Low-grade assessments in care giving situations.”. Research on Language and Social Interaction 42 (4): 309–328.
Lintsen, Toke and Kees De Bot
1989Language proficiency in Dutch Elderly People. Nijmegen. Department of Linguistics.
1986“Grundformen der gesellschaftlichen Vermittlung des Wissens: Kommunikative Gattungen.” In Kultur und Gesellschaft, ed. by Friedhelm M. Neidhardt, Rainer Lepsius and Johannes Weiß, 191–211. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.
2009a“Beyond stereotypes of old age: The discourse of elderly Japanese women.”. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 200: 129–52. BoP
2009b“The construction of multiple identities in elderly narrators’ stories.”. Ageing & Society 29 (6): 903–28.
2009c“Dealing with change: humour in painful self disclosure by elderly Japanese women.”. Ageing & Society 29 (6): 927–50.
2011“Painful to playful: Quotidian frames in the conversational discourse of older Japanese women.”. Language in Society 40: 591–616.
Makoni, Sinfree and Karen Grainger
2002“Comparative gerontolinguistics: Characterizing discourses in caring institutions in South Africa and the United Kingdom.”. Journal of Social Issues 58 (4): 805–824.
Maynard, Douglas W.
1991“On the interactional and institutional bases of asymmetry in clinical discourse.”. American Journal of Sociology 92 (2): 448–495.
Mazeland, Harrie, Marjan Huisman and Marca Schasfoort
1995“Negotiating categories in travel agency talk.” In The discourse of negotiation: Studies of language in the workplace, ed. by Alan Firth, 271–97. Oxford: Pergamon.
2007“De noties Situated Activity System en Participation Framework i.v.m. de zorginteracties.” (unpublished manuscript). Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
Mazeland, Harrie and Jan Berenst
2008“Sorting pupils in a report-card meeting. Categorization in a situated activity system.”. Text & Talk 28(1): 55–78. BoP
Mccormack, Brendan and Tanya Mccance
2006“Development of a framework for person-centred nursing.”. Journal of Advanced Nursing 56 (5): 472–479.
Nakrem, Sigrid, Anne Guttormsen Vinsnes and Arnfinn Seim
2011“Residents’ experiences of interpersonal factors in nursing home care: A qualitative study.”. International Journal of Nursing Studies 48 (11): 1357–1366.
Nelson, E. Anne and Dale Dannefer
1992“Aged heterogeneity: Fact of fiction?”. The Gerontologist 32: 17–23.
2002Age in Action: Membership Work and Stage of Life Categories in Talk. Helsinki: Hakapaino Oy.
Norrick, Nick R.
2009“The construction of multiple identities in elderly narrators’ stories.”. Ageing and Society 29: 903–927.
Nussbaum, John F.
1983“Perceptions of communication content and life satisfaction among the elderly.”. Communication Quarterly 31: 313–319.
Nussbaum, John F.
1985“Successful aging: A communicative model.”. Communication Quarterly 33: 262–269.
Nussbaum, John F. and Justine Coupland
2004Handbook of Communication and Aging Research, 2nd edn. Mahwah, New York: Lawrence Erlbaum. BoP
Obler, Loraine K. and Martin L. Albert
1980Language and Communication in the Elderly. Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath and Company.
Okazaki, Shoko Y.
1999“‘I can’t drive’: Painful Self-Disclosure in Intergenerational Talk.” In Old Age and Language: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, ed. by Heidi Hamilton, 77–90. New York: Garland.
1998Being an Older Woman. A Study in the Social Production of Identity. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum. BoP
Peräkylä, Anssi, Charles Antaki C., Sanna Vehviläinen and Ivan Leudar
2005Conversation Analysis and Psychotherapy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
1984“Agreeing and disagreeing with assessments: some features of preferred/dispreferred turn shapes.” In Structures of Social Action, ed. by John M. Atkinson and John Heritage, 57–101. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. BoP
1998“Altersspezifisches Kommunikationsverhalten in Verkaufsgesprächen.” In Sprache und Kommunikation im Alter, ed. by Reinhard Fiehler and Caja Thimm, 93–106. Opladen: Wiesbaden.
Randers, Ingrid and Anne-Cathrine Mattiason
2004“Autonomy and integrity: upholding older adult patients’ dignity.”. Journal of Advanced Nursing 45 (1): 63–71.
Ratcliff, Roger, Anjali Thapar and Gail Mckoon
2004“A diffusion model analysis of the effects of aging on recognition memory.”. Journal of Memory and Language 50: 408–424.
1994“Using phenomenology in long-term care settings.”. Journal of Advanced Nursing 19: 336–341.
Rubin, Jeffrey Z. and Bert R. Brown
1975The Social Psychology of Bargaining and Negotiation. New York: Academy Press Inc.
Ryan, Bouchard Ellen, Howard Giles, Giampiero Bartolucci and Karen Henwood
1986“Psycholinguistic and social psychology components of communication by and with the elderly.”. Language and Communication 6: 1–24. BoP
Ryan, Bouchard Ellen and Rochelle Cole
1990“Evaluative perceptions of interpersonal communication with elders.” In Communication, Health, and the Elderly, ed. by Howard Giles, Nik Coupland and John M. Wiemann, 172–190. Manchester UK: Manchester University Press.
Ryan, Bouchard Ellen.
1991“Normal aging and language.” In Dementia and Communication: Clinial and Research Issues, ed. by Rosemary Lubinski, 84–97. Toronto: B.C. Decker.
Ryan, Bouchard Ellen, Sheree D. Meredith, Michael J. Maclean and J.B. Orange
1995“Changing the way we talk with elders: Promoting health using the Communication Enhancement Model.”International Journal of Aging and Human Development 41 (2): 89–107.
2009“Preservation of self in the nursing home: Contradictory practices within two models of care.”. Journal of Aging Studies 23: 12–23.
Sacks, Harvey, Emanuel A. Schegloff and Gail Jefferson
1974“A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conversation.”. Language 50: 696–735. BoP
1979“Hotrodder: A revolutionary category.” In Everyday language. Studies in Ethnomethodology, ed. by George Psathas, 7–14. New York: John Wiley & Sons. BoP
Sacks, Harvey and Emanuel A. Schegloff
1979“Two Preferences in the Organization of Reference to Persons in Conversation and their Interaction.” In Everyday Language: Studies in Ethnomethodology, ed. by George Psathas, 15–21. New York: Irvington. BoP
1992Lectures on Conversation. 2 vols. Ed. by Gail Jefferson with introductions by Emanuel A. Schegloff. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
2005“Editorial: Interactional expertise in healthcare encounters.”. Communication & Medicine 2 (2): 103–104.
Schaie, Karl W.
1996Intellectual Development in Adulthood: The Seattle Longitudinal Study. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Schegloff, Emanuel A.
1972“Notes on a Conversational Practice: Formulating Place.” In Studies in Social Interaction, ed. by David N. Sudnow, 75–119. New York: MacMillan, The Free Press. BoP
1978“Sketch of an analytic mentality for the study of conversational interaction.” In Studies in the Organization of Conversational Interaction, ed. by Jim Schenkein, 1–6. New York: Academic Press.
Shadden, Barbara and Anna Melton
2005“The impact on message language of age, perceived deficit, and belief that communication will be successful.” In
Clinical Aphasiology Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference 35th: Sanibel Island, FL, May 31-June 4.
2004“Nurse-patient interaction: A review of the literature.”. Journal of Clinical Nursing 13 (6): 714–722.
Taylor, Bryan C.
1992“Elderly identity in conversation: Producing frailty.”. Communication Research 19 (4): 493–515.
Ten Have, Paul.
1991“Talk and institution: a reconsideration of the “asymmetry” of doctor-patient interaction.” In Talk and Social Structure. Studies in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis, ed. by Deidre Boden and Don Zimmerman, 138–163. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Tronto, Joan C.
1993Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care. New York: Routledge.
Ulatowska, Hanna K., Michael P. Cannito, Mari M. Hayashi and Susan G. Fleming
1985 “ Language abilities in the elderly”. In The Aging Brain: Communication in the Elderly, ed. by Hanna K. Ulatowska. San Diego: College-Hill Press.
Verkerk, Marian A.
1997Denken over zorg: concepten en praktijken. Utrecht: Elsevier/De Tijdstroom.
Welford, Claire, Kathy Murphy, Meredith Wallace and Dympna Casey
2010“A concept analysis of autonomy for older people in residential care.”. Journal of Advanced Nursing 19 (9–10): 1226–1235.
1986“Linguistic repertoires and literary criticism: new directions in the social psychology of gender”. In Feminist Social Psychology, ed. by Sue Wilkinson, 77–95. Sage, London.
Wetherell, Margaret and Jonathan Potter
1992Mapping the Language of Racism: Discourse and the Legitimation of Exploitation. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf. BoP
Wiemann, John M., Rosemary Gravell, and Michael C. Wiemann
1990“Communication with the elderly: Implications for health care and social support.” In Communication, Health and the Elderly, ed. by Howard Giles, Nik Coupland and John M. Wiemann, 229–242. Manchester, UK: Manchester Univeristy Press.