Background: Language used for expressing feelings and opinions — so-called evaluative language — is essential to the expression of the individual's identity. Illness narratives involving evaluative language are known to be important vehicles for coping with identity change during chronic illness, as well as reflecting on and sharing the experience. However, relatively little is known about the aphasic person's ability to engage in such narratives — in particular, the effects of their language difficulties on this endeavour. Aims: This study discusses different types of evaluative language and ways in which they are relatively impaired or preserved in aphasia, focusing on stroke narrative. Methods & Procedures: Examples from the stroke stories of three aphasic speakers are used as illustrations of their evaluative abilities. The stories were analysed according to evaluative language categories defined by Labov (1972) and Martin (2003). The function of each of these categories is described in terms of its contribution to the emotive nature of the discourse. Outcomes & Results: The aphasic speakers were successful in using evaluative language and used similar devices to non-brain-damaged speakers. However, the realisation of the devices was simplified at both lexical and syntactic levels and in terms of quantity. Conclusions: Emotive/evaluative language promises a different perspective on language usage across speakers of differing levels of severity for both assessment and treatment purposes. We will discuss implications of the use of emotive recounts in the clinical situation for facilitating language and working through identity issues.
- evaluative language