Communication in Persons with Acquired Speech Impairment: The Role of Family as Language Brokers

Gema Rubio-Carbonero*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


More than 170 million people in the world have some kind of speech impairment. The lack of professional interpreters in this domain causes their families to need to learn new communicative strategies to interact with them and assist them as interpreters. The aim of this paper is to analyze the role of these non-professional interpreters for adults with a speech impairment caused by an acquired brain injury. Data come from 13 qualitative interviews and participant observations of 7 persons with acquired brain injury and their families during 18 months. The paper shows the communicative and multimodal strategies these ad-hoc interpreters use to understand the person with impaired speech and the strategies such persons use to make themselves understandable. It also shows how meaning is negotiated and jointly constructed, the power dynamics that emerge from interpreting practices and the impact this has on the speech-impaired persons’ agency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-181
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Linguistic Anthropology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2021


  • agency
  • communication
  • family interpreters
  • power
  • speech impairment


Dive into the research topics of 'Communication in Persons with Acquired Speech Impairment: The Role of Family as Language Brokers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this