Discourse Analysis in Adults With and Without Communication Disorders: A Resource for Clinicians and Researchers

First Edition

Carl Coelho, Leora R. Cherney, Barbara B. Shadden

Details: 341 pages, B&W, Softcover, 7" x 10"

ISBN13: 978-1-63550-375-3

© 2023 | Available


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Discourse Analysis in Adults With and Without Communication Disorders: A Resource for Clinicians and Researchers provides state-of-the-art information about discourse analysis with sections on Aging, Aphasia, Cognitive Communication Disorders, and Neurodegenerative Diseases. The three renowned editors are actively engaged in the area of discourse. Expert clinical researchers introduce and organize each section, and chapters are authored by leaders involved in discourse research worldwide. 

Discourse is considered the most natural unit of language. Effective production of discourse requires complex interactions among linguistic, cognitive, and social abilities that are sensitive to even mild disruption in any one of these elements. This book covers the examination of discourse in adults with acquired communication disorders, including selecting elicitation tasks, streamlining transcription processes, expanding analysis methods, and translating findings for treatment application.

Key Features 

  • Provides a global perspective on discourse assessment for clinicians
  • Dedicated chapters on aging, aphasia, traumatic brain injury, right hemisphere disorder, primary progressive aphasia, Alzheimer’s dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • PluralPlus online ancillary resources with clinical transcripts and additional materials


“[Chapter 2] begins by providing the important definitions and descriptions of the linguistic and cognitive processes necessary to produce narrative discourse in healthy adults. The author clearly explains the organization of the linguistic system as micro- and macro-linguistic processes, and the interplay with the many cognitive processes required for the formulation and production of narrative discourse….
The author next describes the effects of aging on the cognitive skills needed for discourse production. She highlights the specific studies that document the cognitive processes that are impaired and those that are not significantly affected across different age cohorts, as well as how these changes impact micro- and macro linguistic skills…
The complexity of measuring discourse is elegantly revealed in [chapter 3] by first describing the genres of discourse, then the many different stimuli used to elicit discourse, and finally the range of measures that capture the impact of aging on discourse… The chapter begins with a discussion of the differences among the genres of discourse, those in which the speaker describes events, facts, or opinions (i.e., expository, narrative, or procedural) or conversations in which speaker and listener exchange information… They conclude this valuable chapter with documentation of the effects of aging on discourse behaviors as measured by a range of tasks.  
The authors of this concise and important chapter [4] review the critical role conversation plays in the social interactions necessary for cognitive health and successful aging… The excellent Figure (4-1) depicts the many factors, such as age, partner behaviors, partner type, and conversation type that impact interactional behaviors, and linguistic output.  The authors highlight the contributions of hearing, vision, cognition, and bilingualism to conversational interactions, as well as the age-related changes in vocabulary, tip-of-tongue phenomenon, and syntax that affect verbal output during conversations.  An excellent summary of findings on conversation across the lifespan is included as Box 4-2.  The authors conclude with important recommendations for future research to advance our understanding of the subtle changes in communication that have the potential to impact an individual’s overall cognitive health, and which necessitate timely and accurate assessment and treatment.”

–Michelle S. Bourgeois, PhD, CCC-SLP (November 2022)

“Discourse Analysis in Adults With and Without Communication Disorders builds upon years of research in discourse analysis and clearly describes how to apply the many options for analyzing discourse to a wide array of clinical populations. Understanding our patients’ discourse provides valuable insights into their cognition and communication. This text provides a ramp for those of wanting to avail ourselves of these essential but underutilized tools to improve our clinical and research practices. I’ve already dog eared two chapters reviewing discourse and conversation assessment after brain injury.”
–McKay Moore Sohlberg, PhD, University of Oregon (November 2022)

“[Section IV is a] very valuable section of the book [that] addresses the neurologic underpinnings, disease course, and language, cognitive and speech features associated with what likely are the most common neurodegenerative disorders seen by clinical speech-language pathologists -- primary progressive aphasia, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  Each of the four user-friendly chapters is a “go to” source of information about the defining features of those disorders and how patients’ discourse – even if only informally addressed - can reveal how key components of cognitive/behavioral and motor speech impairments can combine to affect communication. The chapters provide a solid foundation for using discourse analysis to aid diagnosis and serve as an outcome measure for documenting disease progression and response to behavioral and medical treatments. Importantly, while clinicians will appreciate the authors’ sensitivity to the challenges of formal discourse analysis in day-to-day clinical practice, they will also learn that the combination of improved understanding of the most efficient, relevant discourse measures and rapid advances in analysis technology will likely reduce those challenges in the future."
–Joseph R. Duffy, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic (December 2022)

“…As the field of linguistics has developed, the focus on discourse, particularly related to human interaction and conversation, can be viewed as providing an interface or bridge between the areas of language impairment and real-life participation. Chapters in the aphasia section illustrate this interface, relevant to both clinicians and researchers, by either implicitly or explicitly highlighting the increasingly prominent social role of communication, including the need to demonstrate the impact of interventions on life roles, relationships and activities of choice. Perspectives are further broadened by a chapter reminding us of the need to be aware of cultural differences when interpreting and labelling communication behaviours as ‘problems’.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the editors and authors involved in compiling this rich text that presents, and does not shy away from challenges related to the multiplicity of theories and methods that can be overwhelming to those of us not immersed in the field. I endorse the view that whether or not clinicians are able to engage in detailed discourse analysis within current clinical practice constraints, familiarity with basic discourse concepts and an understanding of where the field is at, can only enhance the quality of service provided. For those with more serious learning intent, the companion website materials including case studies will prove valuable.”

–Aura Kagan, PhD, Aphasia Institute (December 2022)

About the Editors


Chapter 1. Discourse Analysis in Adults With and Without Communication Disorders: An Overview
Carl Coelho, Barbara B. Shadden, and Leora R. Cherney


Section I. Discourse and Typical Aging

Heather Harris Wright, Topic Chair

Chapter 2. Cognitive and Linguistic Characteristics of Narrative Discourse Production in Healthy Aging

Andrea Marini

Chapter 3. Discourse Processing in Older Adults: Considering Discourse Elicitation Tasks

Stephen Kintz and Hana Kim

Chapter 4. Conversation and Typical Aging

Marion Leaman and Aviva Lerman


Section II. Discourse in Aphasia 

Mary Boyle, Topic Chair for Aphasia

Chapter 5. Analysing Linguistic Features of Discourse in People with Aphasia

Lucy Bryant

Chapter 6. Weaving Research Evidence and Clinical Expertise Together in Discourse Analysis of Spoken Personal Narratives in Aphasia

Lucy Dipper and Madeline Cruice

Chapter 7. Clinical Application of Conversation Analysis in Aphasia

Jamie H. Azios and Nina Simmons–Mackie

Chapter 8. Cross–Cultural Perspectives on Conversational Assessment and Treatment in Aphasia: Learnings From A First Nations Context

Elizabeth Armstrong, Tara Lewis, Alice Robins, Ian Malcolm, and Natalie Ciccone


Section III. Discourse of People with Cognitive Communication Disorders

Leanne Togher, Topic Chair

Chapter 9. Discourse Assessment Across the Recovery Continuum of Traumatic Brain Injury

Elise Elbourn, Joanne Steel, and Elizabeth Spencer

Chapter 10. Assessing Conversation After Traumatic Brain Injury

Louise C. Keegan, Nicholas Behn, Emma Power, Susan Howell & Rachael Rietdijk

Chapter 11. Assessing Discourse In People With Right Hemisphere Disorders

Melissa D. Stockbridge, Jamila Minga, Alexandra Zezinka Durfee, and Melissa Johnson

Chapter 12. Using Technology and Telepractice to Evaluate Discourse After Traumatic Brain Injury

Rachael Rietdijk and Peter Meulenbroek


Section IV. Discourse of People Living With Neurodegenerative Disorders

J.B. Orange, Topic Chair

Chapter 13. Clinical Implications of Discourse Analysis for Individuals With Primary Progressive Aphasia

Sarah Grace Dalton, H. Isabel Hubbard, and Jessica D. Richardson

Chapter 14. What Discourse Analysis Reveals About Conversation and Language Processing in the Context of Dementia of the Alzheimer’s Type

Jackie Guendouzi

Chapter 15. Multilevel Discourse Analysis in Parkinson’s Disease and Related Disorders

Katharine Aveni and Angela Roberts

Chapter 16. Discourse in ALS: Interplay of Language, Motor, and Executive Factors

Sharon Ash and Sanjana Shellikeri


Section V. Discourse Databases for Use With Clinical Populations

Carl Coelho, Co–Editor

Chapter 17. Discourse Databases for Use With Clinical Populations

Davida Fromm and Brian MacWhinney

Carl Coelho

Carl Coelho, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is Professor Emeritus and former Department Head of the Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Department at the University of Connecticut, where he also served as Director of the Cognitive Science Program.  Prior to beginning his academic career, he worked 18 years as a clinician and Department Director of speech-language pathology and audiology in rehabilitation hospitals.  Dr. Coelho spent the next 27 years developing coursework and teaching about the management of communication disorders.  He is past-president of the Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences and recipient of Honors of the Academy.  Dr. Coelho also served as the Vice-President of the National Aphasia Association. His research on cognitive communication disorders in adults with acquired brain injuries has been has been published in over 100 journal articles and chapters. Dr Coelho is a Fellow of the American Speech, Language, Hearing Association.

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Leora R. Cherney

Leora R. Cherney, PhD, CCC-SLP, BC-ANCDS, FACRM is the Scientific Chair of Think and Speak at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) and Professor of both Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences & Disorders at Northwestern University. She has 40 years of clinical and research experience in the area of adult neurologic communication disorders. She is the founder and director of SRAlab’s Center for Aphasia Research and Treatment which conducts cutting-edge research and offers both an Intensive Comprehensive Aphasia Program (ICAP) and weekly aphasia community groups. Her innovative research has explored factors to enhance aphasia treatment outcomes for behavioral, pharmacological, and neuromodulatory interventions. Dr. Cherney has authored over 100 journal publications and five books. She has received numerous prestigious awards including: Honors of both the Illinois and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association; Honors of the Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences; the ACRM and National Stroke Association Excellence in Post-Acute Stroke award; and the ACRM Women in Rehabilitation Science Award.

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Barbara B. Shadden

Professor/Director of the Program in Communication Disorders and Co-Director of the Office for Studies on Aging at the University of Arkansas. She has published three textbooks and presented on topics in aging, aphasia, and other neurogenic disorders, discourse, and augmentative communication. She has also served on the editorial board of two journals and as reviewer for seven journals and three funding agencies. Dr. Shadden worked previously as co-coordinator of Neuropathology Services, University of Tennessee, and speech-language consultant to two hospitals. She has recently served as a Board Member for the Academy of Neurological Communication Sciences and Disorders, and is an ASHA Fellow and honoree of the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

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Purchase of Discourse Analysis in Adults With and Without Communication Disorders: A Resource for Clinicians and Researchers comes with access to supplementary resources on a PluralPlus companion website.

The companion website is located at:  http://www.pluralpublishing.com/publication/daacd

To access the student resources, you must register on the companion website and log in using the access code located in the front of your textbook.

*Note for students: If you have purchased this textbook used or have rented it, your access code will not work if it was already redeemed by the original buyer of the book. Plural Publishing does not offer replacement access codes for used or rented textbooks.

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