Danger Signals in Data Collection:
Problems in Language Documentation in Elder-Only Populations


Our goal is to engage Linguistic Institute participants in discovering the excitement of working with the language produced by individuals in whom the brain damage underlying aphasia has putatively disrupted aspects of grammar. After defining the phenomenon of aphasia, with special attention to agrammatism and giving examples of how it manifests in English, we turn to recent studies of how it exposes fault-lines of language representation in languages that have morphosyntactic and phonological structures differing from those of English. We conclude with comments on the implications of such work for linguists who may encounter speakers with language disorders in their fieldwork and/or elderly 'last speakers' who may be semi-speakers or have a language or cognitive disorder. These speakers may still provide data of value if fully competent speakers can also be found for comparison.


The abstract for this workshop can be downloaded here.


  • Lise Menn, lise DOT menn AT colorado DOT edu
  • Andy Cowell, cowellj AT colorado DOT edu