The study of language disorder has historically encompassed a number of different perspectives. A significant amount of research has been undertaken using individuals with acquired brain damage as windows to brain function, e.g. from the studies which implied localisation of particular language function in particular parts of the brain based on aphasic individuals' performance on language tasks (e.g. Geschwind, 1965; Goodglass and Kaplan, 1983; Luria, 1966), to the sophisticated studies currently being undertaken, focusing more on the complex neurological processes which might be occurring during language processing (e.g. Cao et al., 1999; Naeser et al., 2004). Another perspective involves what the breakdown of language might tell us about normal language function and indeed about the organisation of language regardless of neurological correlates. And yet another perspective involves the question of intervention - in finding out more about language disorder, can we learn better ways of facilitating language recovery or language improvement in the client or devise better ways to work with the person with the language disorder as well as assist their communication partners to overcome the social limitations they might encounter as a result of the disorder? This chapter addresses the latter two perspectives, exploring a social semiotic approach to language disorder.
Continuing Discourse on Language: A Functional Perspective, p. 383-412