Background: Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) affects a range of language domains that impact on communication. Little is known about the nature of conversation breakdown in PPA. The identification of trouble in conversation, its repair and the success of repairs has been used effectively to examine conversation breakdown in neurogenic language disorders such as dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) and acute onset aphasia. This study investigated trouble and repair in the conversations of people with PPA.Aims: The first aim of this study is to describe the contributions of individuals with PPA and their conversation partner to conversation. The second aim is to describe the trouble that occurs in dyadic conversations between three individuals with PPA and their communication partner. The third aim is to describe the repair behaviours used by the individuals with PPA and their communication partners.Methods & Procedures: Dyadic conversations about everyday activities between three individuals with PPA and their partners and three control dyads were video recorded and transcribed. Number of words, number of turns and length of turns were measured and trouble-indicating behaviours (TIBs) and repair behaviours were categorised.Outcomes & Results: Individuals with PPA had reduced mean length of turn but maintained their share of turn-taking. They demonstrated a variety of TIBs that differed from the noninteractive repairs, which do not require a response from the partner in the conversation and which have been observed in studies of conversation in DAT. Their partners bore the greater burden of highlighting trouble and need for repair using collaborative, interactive, TIBs. Three different conversational profiles were observed in the three PPA dyads, reflecting different patterns of language and cognitive impairment.Conclusions: Individuals with PPA were active participants in conversation effectively indicating and responding to trouble. Understanding trouble and repair in the conversations of individuals with PPA has the potential to enhance assessment and inform clinical practice.
- Logopenic progressive aphasia
- Progressive nonfluent aphasia