Skip header navigation


Bringing conversations to a close: The management of closings in interactions between AAC users and 'natural' speakers

Collins S, Markova I & Murphy J (1997) Bringing conversations to a close: The management of closings in interactions between AAC users and 'natural' speakers. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 11 (6), pp. 467-493.

Closings present particular difficulties in interactions between people with cerebral palsy who use alternative and augmentative communication (AAC), systems, and 'natural' speakers. Using conversation analytic techniques this paper explores how closings proceed in video-recordings of such interactions. Four varieties of closings are identified, and their components described and exemplified. Features of these closings are further illustrated and confirmed through interview and field-note data containing participants' reports of their experiences of closings. Findings show that when the closing is initiated by the 'natural' speaker, the difficulty lies in ensuring the AAC user's collaboration. The closing is unilaterally accomplished, either by rushing through it, or by explicitly seeking concurrence with the proposal to close from the AAC user. When the closing is initiated by the AAC user the difficulty lies in making this understood to the 'natural' speaker. That is, AAC users either initiate the closing with gesture, relying heavily on the natural' speaker being able to infer that such a gesture is closing implicative, or they initiate the closing with their AAC system, in which case the closing appears abrupt. On the basis of these findings, practical implications for AAC users, 'natural' speakers, speech and language therapists, and AAC system manufacturers are outlined.

closings; interaction; alternative and augmentative communication

Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics: Volume 11, Issue 6

Author(s)Collins, Sarah; Markova, Ivana; Murphy, Joan
Publication date31/12/1997
Publication date online09/07/2009
Date accepted by journal24/11/1996
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Scroll back to the top