Due to the active research environment in the field of aging and interaction in the Nordic countries, we have chosen interaction to be one thematic orientation for our conference in Helsinki. Our two other themes are methods and positions.

  1. Interaction: This thematic session focuses on interaction involving older adults. Recently, there has been an increasing interest in situational settings involving persons with dementia, focusing on how these persons and their conversational partners collaborate to construct meaning in interaction, despite the resulting communication challenges. However, there is still a lack of research on interaction involving older adults without pathological neurobiological language change. This session pays special attention to naturally occurring spoken interaction with regard to both healthy and pathological aging.
  2. Methods: We want to provide an arena for empirical approaches and innovative methods to gather language data from older adults. Because research on aging is still under-represented in the field of linguistics, there is a strong need for a discussion on various methodological points of departure. New methodological approaches, especially to corpus data, audio and video data, and documenting spontaneous speech will be presented and need to be considered with regard to the ethical issues related to investigating the language of an older population.
  3. Positions: The field of language and aging research is intrinsically interdisciplinary. Furthermore, the research has a potential both for providing new theoretical knowledge and for producing empirical results that are applicable in nursing and welfare. Therefore, this session is dedicated to position papers that outline what can be learned from language and aging research in other disciplines such as, e.g. language change, and vice versa: paradigms and experiences that could shed new light on language related issues of aging. The papers provide a solid foundation to discuss both emerging theoretical topics and questions linking language issues with professional practice.