Hot off the presses! A paper by Debby Keller-Cohen has just appeared in print in one of the premier journals about aging (Research on Aging). This paper is part of Debby's research program focusing on language maintenance and communicative practice among older adults. The bilbiographic information and abstract of the paper are given below.
This study asks two questions: (1) Do older adults modify their language based on age of the listener (audience design)? (2) Does social contact affect audience design in older adults? Older adults (n = 34; mean age = 82) engaged in an instructions task with two fictive listeners (a child and an adult) to test these questions. Results show that older adults used a greater total number of propositions and rapport-building devices and a lower type–token ratio when giving instructions to the child compared to the adult listener. Adults with more social interactions used more propositions when talking to a child. In addition, satisfaction with interactions was significantly positively related to task-tracking devices and negatively related to rapport-building devices by older adults. These results suggest that audience design and social relations are worth further study in language maintenance in older age.