Relevance-Based Analysis of Aphasic Speech

Lekan Oyeleye, Adesina B. Sunday


The aphasics constitute an important segment of our population. Interacting with them requires special procedures. Some of the caregivers of the aphasics and some other members of society often dismiss the speech of the aphasics as irrelevant and incoherent. This attitude towards the aphasics is counter-productive, as the interlocutors as well as the aphasics get frustrated during interactions. Against this background, this paper examined interactions with three Yoruba-English bilingual aphasics, using the relevance theory, with a view to revealing the systematic ways the meanings of the utterances of aphasics can be decoded by somebody who is not present when such a speech was recorded. The paper concludes that a better way of making inferences from the discourse of aphasics is to enter their worlds of experience, show interest in their discourses, make assumptions about their ostensions. In most cases, the discourses of aphasics fulfil at least one of the Extent Conditions. This implies that the discourses of aphasics are relevant and the effort expended in processing them can be reduced if the interlocutor/analyst appropriately deplores the necessary contextual cues and clues.

Key words: Yoruba-English bilingual aphasics; Extent conditions; Relevance theory; Ostensions; Caregivers


Yoruba-English bilingual aphasics; Extent conditions; Relevance theory; Ostensions; Caregivers



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