“Now what was that called?”

Struggling to Find the Right Words
  • Heidi E. Hamilton


In this chapter, we examine patterns underlying the remedial interchanges (Goffman, Relations in public. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1971) that are triggered by word searches. As important background, we first address the abstract concept of what is called ‘lexical memory’ and then listen in on how individuals with dementia characterize their struggles with this type of memory in real-world interactions. In subsequent sections, we encounter a variety of strategies employed by such individuals in the midst of their moments of confusion; explore ways in which conversational partners make efforts toward a ‘meeting of the minds’ in the process of meaning making; focus on the phenomenon of ‘noteworthy’ uses of words by individuals with dementia; and close with a case study of advanced dementia where communication proceeds despite the absence of words.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heidi E. Hamilton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsGeorgetown UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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