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Wednesday, November 30, 2011


        Have any of you ever experienced the following treatment? In the article, cited below, the authors describe a way of talking described as “elderspeak.”  It refers to “ …a specialized speech register resembling baby talk in addressing older adults.” This form of speech uses few clauses, shorter phrases, more filler phrases (e.g., “like,” “you know”), words with fewer syllables, slower speech, and longer pauses.  Elderspeak also includes the use of words like “dearie”, “cutie” and “sweetie.”
         Stereotyping creates the conditions for elderspeack.  The speaker assumes that the older person has low mental ability or some other impairment. Elderspeak has a negative effect on the older person; it creates low self-esteem, it reduces a person’s ability to communicate effectively, it decreases the quality of interaction, and it reduces the older person’s sense of control.   Now the question is, what can we do about it? I would like you to respond to this information so we can discuss it further.   


[i]  Thorton, R. & Light L.L. (2006).  “Language & Comprehension and Production in             Normal Aging , Handbook of the Psychology of Aging, 6th ed.  IN Aging and             Society: A Canadian Perspective, 6th Ed. P.6

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