|Author(s)||Maziar Yazdanpanah, Charlotta Plejert, Christina Samuelsson, Gunilla Jansson|
|Title||An interactional perspective on sound prolongation in multilingual encounters in residential care|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Sound prolongation, Resistance to care, Agitation, Elderspeak|
|Journal||Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics|
Elderspeak refers to adapting one’s language to a perceived language decline of an older interlocutor. Earlier studies have explored different features of elderspeak; some of these studies attribute positive outcomes to using elderspeak that facilitates communication, but other studies consider elderspeak a negative way of communicating that should be avoided. The aim of this study is to investigate a largely unexplored feature of elderspeak, namely sound prolongation in a multilingual context. There are five participants in this study: three carers and two care recipients in a residential care unit. The carers and care recipients have limited access to a shared spoken language. The data consist of video- and audio recordings of interaction between the participants. The recordings have been transcribed and analysed in accordance with Conversation Analytical methodology. The analysis shows that the carers use sound prolongation as part of their interactional repertoire in order to manage situations of distress. We conclude that in some distressful situations carers’ use of sound prolongation may help mitigating the care recipient’s emotional concerns since the source of agitations has been addressed properly. In other situations, the use of sound prolongation may lead to an escalation in distress, if the source of agitation is not addressed adequately. Our results bring to the fore that an interactional practice, such as the use of sound prolongation in the context of expressed distress must be interpreted in relation to the complexity of each and every situation participants find themselves in, their level of understanding, and the task/activity at hand.