Mentally retarded individuals have been studied almost exclusively as clinical entities, not as persons immersed in the stream of social life. This has led not only to a lack of appreciation for the complexity of their lives and concerns, but also to an underestimation and incomplete understanding of their intellectual and linguistic skills. By exploring aspects of the ongoing linguistic and social lives of retarded individuals in various community contexts, this volume contributes to a growing body of literature which attempts to fill in this inadequate picture. In addition, the studies in this volume offer social scientists insights into the way that stigma such as that associated with intellectual and social incompetence affects social groups and influences conversational behavior and language use.
1. 1. Introduction (by Sabsay, Sharon); 2. 2. "About Ostriches Coming Out of Communist China": Meanings, Functions, and Frequencies of Typical Interactions in Group Meetings for Retarded Adults (by Graffam, Joseph); 3. 3. Taking Sides: Resolution of a Peer Conflict in a Workshop for Retarded Adults (by Anderson-Levitt, Kathryn M.); 4. 4. Displaying Competence: Peer Interaction in a Group Home for Retarded Adults (by Platt, Martha); 5. 5. Weaving the Cloak of Competence: A Paradox in the Management of Trouble in Conversations between Retarded and Nonretarded Interlocutors (by Sabsay, Sharon); 6. Footnotes; 7. References; 8. Appendix A; 9. Appendix B: Transcripts of episodes F, G, and L