Tag Archives: language

Using Latin to settle medical pronunciation debates

Raymond Noonan Brooklyn, New York, United States   Author’s note: Original Latin words are written in italics, with macrons (ā) indicating long vowels. Equivalent Latin-derived medical terms are given without italics. Acute accents (á) are sometimes used to indicate stress accent in both English and Latin. Informal phonetic spelling that should be familiar to most […]

Plague epidemics and the evolution of language in England

Andrew P. K. Wodrich Washington, DC, United States   Pierart dou Tielt’s illustration depicts the mortal toll of the Black Death in a Belgian town circa 1353. Similarly, the plague decimated the population of England, spurring the change from French to English as the country’s dominant spoken language. Via Wikimedia Commons here.  Epidemics have had a profound impact […]

Some subjects are given

Michael Salcman Baltimore, Maryland, United States   Self-portrait with fiddling Death. Arnold Böcklin. 1872. Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin   Some subjects are given to the authors of poems and songs, of mechanical puzzles and lives, given over and over like a spiking fever in an old TB ward or the low level irritation of a cancer […]

Wounding words

Charlotte Grinberg Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA   Still Life – A Student’s Table. William Michael Harnett. 1882. Philadelphia Museum of Art. In college, I majored in anthropology. I was interested in understanding the political, social, legal, and economic forces that influence behavior. As language is inherently related to consciousness and culture, its study was central to […]

The language game of medicine

Gunjan Sharma Devon, United Kingdom   Photo by Ludomił on Unsplash “The arrow points only in the application that a living being makes of it.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein1   The Language Game Language is a fascinating concept when viewed through a philosophical lens. Imagine if we no longer had a word for jealousy. Would that […]

Latin and medicine

Noah DeLone Miami, Florida, United States Photography by Celeste RC Language is the cornerstone of our ability to communicate as humans and underlies the prose of our medical discourse. The words we select can be indicative of our background, training, and intentions. It should come as no surprise that a robust knowledge of one’s own […]

An emigrant doctor’s linguistic journey on crutches

Zeynel A. Karcioglu Charlottesville, Virginia, United States   Figure 1: A photograph of Kemal Atatürk unveiling the new Turkish alphabet in 1928.   I am a linguistic cripple like many other immigrants. When I came to the United States as a foreign medical graduate I was rather young, but the neurocognitive linguistic skills of my […]

The language of medicine

Rebecca MacDonell-Yilmaz Providence, Rhode Island   Language, both spoken and written, plays an enormous role in the education that we absorb from our predecessors and pass on to our successors. I realized this early on during my clinical rotations as a medical student, as I stared, lost, at the fishbone diagrams scratched out in residents’ […]

To Sir, with gratitude

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   When I was twelve my late grandfather, seeing that I was disinclined to study English, made me an offer I could hardly ignore. “If you learn English,” he said, “then we shall go to America together,” knowing that this was a boyhood dream of mine. A few years later, at […]