Dr. Kenneth G. Schaefer
ED 815: Language in Society
1 May 2014
The Language of Doctors and Patients
Language, the form of human interaction uses words in a contrived manner, either in writing or verbally. Generally speaking there are about 7,000 languages in the world that depend on the process of semiosis. Without semiosis it would be quite difficult to understand how each individual converses with others within modern day society. The structure of language remotely relies on semantics, sounds, symbols, and grammar. Every unique individual has their own expression of the language in which they live in. The expression of language can define a person in cultural, ethical, and social manner. In essence, language can be a person’s most sacred thing which they carry.
The way doctors converse for example, use a different language than their patients. Doctors use a medical lexicon because they are scholars in medicine. Patients on the other hand, generally speaking, have an average, basic lexicon. For example, doctors refer to the word negative meaning something is regular, patients know the word means something positive, not negative (this can also refer to sociolect). Due to the language differences between the doctor and patient it is hard to communicate amongst themselves. Doctors need to realize even that they are in fact, eruditely educated and have a higher class within society, that the patients always come first. Doctors tend to forget that they also went to school to learn how to treat patients with love and care, and to build trust. Without trust a doctor can establish no bond with any given patient.
A patient can feel discouraged or not smart enough to understand what the doctor was talking about in regards to a remote diagnosis. Patients tend to get intimidated when a doctor tells them of what sickness that may have gotten. Take the word thalassemia for example, a patient not knowing that there are two words in the word can get confused. The patient will get baffled because how would they know that thalassa (ocean) and emia (heama meaning blood), are derived from words that are Greek and that it is a sickness that involves having poor blood cells.
Doctors and patients constantly participate in conversation analysis (CA). This routine can be used in doctor offices. Conversation analysis takes place within the human interaction of everyday life. This has a structure which concentrates on verbal and nonverbal behavior. An example of conversation analysis would be turn taking. For example, the doctor asks the patient a question, the patient responds and then says another statement.
The typical structure of language and communication among a doctor and a patient is the doctor welcoming the patient, the patient stating the problem, checking the patient, the analysis of the checkup, the doctor’s remark in regards to treat the patient, wrapping it up, and being dismissed. There is non-verbal communication that takes...