Vol. 5 (2019)

Echolalia as a Communicative Strategy: A Kleefstra-syndrome Case Study

Greta Mazzaggio
Laboratorio editoriale OA / Dip. LILSI

Published 2019-08-29


  • Communication,
  • Delayed Echolalia,
  • Immediate echolalia

How to Cite

Mazzaggio, G. (2019). Echolalia as a Communicative Strategy: A Kleefstra-syndrome Case Study. Quaderni Di Linguistica E Studi Orientali, 5, 405–427. https://doi.org/10.13128/QULSO-2421-7220-25975


Echolalia – immediate or delayed – is the stereotyped and mechanical repetition of words and phrases produced by others. Experts used to view echolalia as a defect to eliminate; however, current research has shown that often imitation may serve a purpose for children with linguistic deficits. This study’s goal is to assess whether echolalia has communicative value; such purpose is achieved through the analysis of spontaneous speech and delayed echoes uttered by a 13- years-old boy officially diagnosed with Kleefstra Syndrome. Since there are no linguistic studies yet regarding this syndrome, this study may shed new light on a specific linguistic strategy that people with this syndrome might use. Based on the functional categories described by Prizant (1983), we analyzed the echolalic speech produced by this teen with the aim of demonstrating the pragmatic value behind those repetitions.


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