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Saturday, October 12 • 2:30pm - 2:55pm
Pabst & Tagliamonte: I/0 fed the squirrels: The impact of cognitive decline on subject omission in one individual's diaries over the lifespan (1985-2016)

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I/0 fed the squirrels: The impact of cognitive decline on subject omission in one individual's diaries over the lifespan (1985-2016)

This paper presents a quantitative analysis of a single individual’s diary entries, written between the years 1985 and 2016 (age 60-91). The writer, Vivian White, was born and raised in Nova Scotia but spent most of her adult life in Toronto, Ontario. In 2009, at age 84, Vivian was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. We investigate to what extent her cognitive decline is reflected in her writing. Our focus is on subject realization, specifically the variation between first person singular I and zero.

Results show that during the early years of writing, Vivian’s rate of subject omission is high and relatively stable. Shortly before her diagnosis, Vivian starts using the overt 1st person pronoun I almost exclusively. This suggests that speakers may revert back to a more fundamental writing style when they experience cognitive decline. Despite these drastic changes in frequency, the underlying grammar remains remarkably stable.

Speakers
avatar for Katharina Pabst

Katharina Pabst

University of Toronto
SA

Sali A. Tagliamonte

University of Toronto


Saturday October 12, 2019 2:30pm - 2:55pm
EMU Crater Lake S
  • Session type Talk
  • Chair: Suzanne Evans Wagner


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