Proper noun anomia in conversation: A description of how a man with chronic anomia constructed referencing turns

Scott Barnes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Proper noun anomia has received significant attention as a source of evidence for the organisation of the lexicon, and the neuroanatomical bases of language. There is also some evidence that people with aphasia and related disorders may have particular difficulty producing proper nouns. However, very few studies have examined how proper noun anomia manifests in everyday conversation.Aims: This study uses conversation analysis (CA) to describe how a man with chronic anomia constructed turns that referred to people, places, and other entities that can be named with proper nouns.Methods & Procedures: A man with chronic anomia following a closed head injury (Paul) was recorded during everyday conversations involving two friends and the researcher. Approximately 21/2 hours of recordings were collected and transcribed. A collection of referencing turns was assembled from this dataset and analysed.Outcomes & Results: Two design features of Paul's referencing turns are identified and described. First, Paul recurrently delayed the production of reference forms in referencing turns. It is speculated that these practices generated extra time for Paul to produce proper nouns. Second, Paul recurrently utilised common noun phrases (e.g., that young bloke) as reference forms in place of proper nouns. These references were easier to produce than proper nouns, and solicited proper nouns from his conversation partners. Securing the involvement of conversation partners allowed Paul to partially distribute the productive and moral responsibility for proper noun generation.Conclusions: It is argued that these turn construction practices represent adaptations to proper noun anomia in conversation. These findings may contribute to the development of interaction-focused interventions targeting referencing by people with anomia. Future investigation should focus on how the referencing turns of people with anomia change over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


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