Semin Speech Lang 2007; 28(2): 136-147
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-970571
Copyright © 2007 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Using Conversation Analysis to Assess and Treat People with Aphasia

Suzanne Beeke1 , Jane Maxim1 , Ray Wilkinson1
  • 1Department of Human Communication Science, University College London, London, United Kingdom
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
10 April 2007 (online)


This article gives an overview of the application to aphasia of conversation analysis (CA), a qualitative methodology for the analysis of recorded, naturally occurring talk produced in everyday human interaction. CA, like pragmatics, considers language use in context, but it differs from other analytical frameworks because the clinician is not making interpretations about how an aspect of language should be coded or judging whether an utterance is successful or adequate in terms of communication. We first outline the CA methodology before discussing its application to the assessment of aphasia, principally through the use of two published assessment tools. We then move on to illustrate applications of CA in the field of aphasia therapy by discussing two single case study interventions. Key conversation behaviors are illustrated with transcripts from interactions recorded by the person with aphasia and the person's habitual conversation partner in the home environment. Finally, we explore the implications of using CA as a tool for assessment and treatment in aphasia.


1 In this article, “couple” and “conversational partnership” are used interchangeable.

2 Names used in this article are pseudonyms.

Suzanne Beeke

Department of Human Communication Science, University College London, Remax House

31-32 Alfred Place, London WC1E 7DP, United Kingdom

Email: [email protected]