Talk about goals for aphasia therapy

A systemic functional analysis


  • Alison Ferguson University of Newcastle Australia
  • Linda Worrall University of Queensland, QLD, Australia
  • Bronwyn Davidson Edith Cowan University, WA, Australia
  • Deborah Hersh Edith Cowan University
  • Tami Howe University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  • Sue Sherratt University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia



aphasia, critical discourse analysis, systemic functional linguistics, therapy goals


Employing Systemic Functional Linguistics, this paper presents a critical discourse analysis of talk about goals for aphasia therapy by five people with aphasia, their five family members, and their eight treating speech-language pathologists. While speech-language pathologists talked explicitly about goals, people with aphasia and their family members talked about these implicitly. The further analysis of one set of participants found that the wife was observed to use very concrete, activity focused language, in contrast to the more abstract and technical language used by the speech-language pathologist. The language used by these participants indicated different ways of conceptualising goals for people with aphasia. The counterpoint available through this critical discourse analysis is suggested to offer useful reflection on talk in everyday clinical contexts, and to provide directions for further research.


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How to Cite

Ferguson, A., Worrall, L., Davidson, B., Hersh, D., Howe, T., & Sherratt, S. (2010). Talk about goals for aphasia therapy: A systemic functional analysis. Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, 1(1), 95–118.