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Ageist Language and Dignity. An Analysis of Elderspeak in a Flemish Nursing Home

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

As a register using simplified language and stereotypes, elderspeak has negative effects on the sense of dignity and the wellbeing of older people. The present study explores the linguistic aspects of the phenomenon in a Flemish nursing home. The communication during the interactions of five professional caretakers and 26 residents of a nursing home was audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Subsequently, a linguistic analysis of this transcription was carried out in part with the help of a concordance program. The caretakersâ speech was simplified noticeably. Concerning the pronouns, the formal you-form (u) was frequently used, together with the patronizing we-form. The residents were addressed by their first names, pet names were used to a lesser extent. Finally, diminutives and interjections were used frequently. Different linguistic aspects of elderspeak were thus found in the corpus. The present study confirms earlier research findings. The discourse of professional caretakers in a nursing home contains elderspeak. Although further research is needed, these findings may serve as a basis for formulating a strategy to improve the communication with older people.
Tijdschrift: Dragoman
ISSN: 2295-1210
Issue: 6
Volume: 4
Pagina's: 22 - 34
Jaar van publicatie:2016