Balancing institutional authority and children’s agency: The Hebrew verb lircot (to want) in speech-language therapy sessions

Bracha Nir, Irit Mayost-Abramovich, Gonen Dori-Hacohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The study investigates how clinicians achieve balance between the needs of the institution and the promotion of the child’s agency and volition. Method: Our data are taken from the opening segments of 16 sessions recorded by 8 speech clinicians during their meetings with 11 children with some form of speech and language disorder. We focus on four segments, and our analysis is based on the combined insights of three approaches to the analysis of talk: conversation analysis (CA), dialogic syntax (DS), and discourse pragmatics (DP). Results: The extended and integrated analyses of the segments illustrate different ways in which the clinicians and the children negotiate intersubjectivity in the speech-language therapy (SLT) session, focusing on the use of the verb for ‘to want’ in Hebrew. Discussion and conclusion: The study demonstrates that while clinicians may per-ceive their action of employing question constructions with the verb for ‘to want’ as addressing the interlocutor’s will, their interactional practices may in fact achieve the opposite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-178
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper resulted from Irit Mayost-Abramovich’s MA research project (supervised by Dr. Bracha Nir) at the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Haifa. We would like to thank the editors and the anonymous reviewers for their positive comments and helpful suggestions. We presented prior versions of this research at the Atypical Interaction Conference, Odense, Denmark, at the International Association for Dialogue Analysis (IADA), “Dialogue, interaction and culture: Multidisciplinary perspectives on language use in everyday life”, Bologna, Italy, as well as at The 18th annual meeting of the Israeli society for the Study of Language and Society.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, equinox publishing.


  • authority
  • children’s agency
  • Hebrew
  • institutional
  • speech-language therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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