A User Friendly Memory Book


By Geraldine P. Wallach, Ph.D.,  CCC-SLP
     Associate Professor, Department of Communicative Disorders
     California State University, Long Beach
Have you ever forgotten a person‚s name at the moment of introduction? Ever struggled in the middle of a conversation to recall the name of the town where your friends just bought a new condo? Every attempted to pronounce a complex word, only to substitute a word that sounds similar, but falls short of the intended target? Ever loose a seemingly familiar word suddenly? All speakers of a languageųyoung and old,  professional and nonprofessional, male and female (including all other categories one might use to describe the human condition)ųcan identify with these phenomena.  Communication, among the most basic yet critical aspects of human endeavors, is often taken for granted until it is lost or disrupted. To say the least, losing words and struggling to find them, can be embarrassing and frustrating.  Word-finding lapses cannot only interrupt one‚s train of thought and enthusiasm for lively conversation, but these lapses can also contribute to feelings of self-doubt and anxiety. Luckily, help is on the way!
Dr. Diane German, a consummate research, teacher, clinician, and nationally-recognized scholar in the area of word finding and retrieval, presents her readers with a book that is extremely well organized. It is clever and timely, packaging for its readers research-based concepts in very accessible and user-friendly ways. The book presents readers with an excellent summary of the nature and types of word-finding difficulties that may occur in everyday conversations, in workplace situations and within classroom settings. Through a series of cartoon-like „conversation bubbles,š German gives readers examples of word-finding errors they may be experiencing. The book not only provides readers with information about the different types of word-finding problems, it also provides them with detailed self-evaluation checklists to help readers identify their own word-finding errors. Dr. German guides her readers through the book with creative icons that serve as friendly road maps, or bookmarks, through discussion sections and to the practical how‚s, when‚s, and why‚s of word naming, retrieval,  and retrieval improvements. The self-evaluation section is particularly interesting Ų readers might enjoy comparing their findings with family and friends who may also be experiencing word-finding difficulties. Indeed, this is farfrom a „one size fits all" book.  German is careful to point out both the „do‚sš and „don‚tsšofparticular word-finding strategies and is cautious about the recommendations she makes for readers. Her carefully-crafted strategic approach to self-monitoring and self-awareness helps readers focus on what might be significant areas for their improvement. By demonstrating how different őtipsš work for different people,we get a better understanding of the complexities of word-finding  difficulties. We also understand how association strategies might work for one person, whereas pausing strategies might work better for another person.
This book is timely from many perspectives. This book would be extremely useful for our senior citizens, who are vibrant and living longer than ever, but who certainly have experienced some of the „lost wordsš German discusses. This book would also be very valuable to those of us, myself included, who are part of the „baby boomerš generation and who are losing more words daily than we would like to admit. The book would be a useful addition to the libraries of adolescents and university students who might have difficulty with classroom and academic learning. For all of us, embarking on this age of ever-changing technology, learning and retaining the new twenty-first century lexicon may certainly present some challenges. No doubt, having specific strategies to improve our retrieval of words would be welcomed.
Readers will enjoy the adventure into the world of words that German has outlined. Steeped in over twenty years of research,Dr. German shares her wealth of knowledge with her readers. While accessible and easy to follow, with pages and pages of practical suggestions for improving word-finding skills, readers will go back for several readings and will, no doubt,use the book as a great reference source. It‚s on the „Tip of My Tongueš is intelligent, fun, mind-stretching, and thorough, creative, and exciting.There are probably more words to describe what German provides for her readersųit is for the reader to find the appropriate words after his or her own exploration.

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