A Helpful Association and Journal

This post will be rather short this week because I would take an aside from the ongoing discussion of cultural aspects in order to highlight an organization that has helped me and can be useful to those who teach Spanish to medical professionals. The European Association of Language for Specific Purposes (or AEFLE, based on its name in Spanish) promotes the teaching and research of languages for specific purposes (such as medical Spanish). It organizes conferences and publishes a journal that can be very useful to our work as educators and help us to stay current on the new ideas and techniques. Two  articles from their journal, Ibérica,  that you may find of interest are:

1.  Mungra, Philippa and Tatiana Canziani (Spring 2013): “Lexicographic Studies in Medicine: Academic Word List for Clinical Case Histories” [online]. Ibérica 25, pgs. 39-62, <http://www.aelfe.org/documents/03_25_Mungra.pdf>

2. Skelton, John R. and Jan Whetstone (2012): “English for Medical Purposes and Academic Medicine: Looking for Common Ground” [online]. Ibérica 24, pgs. 87-102, <http://www.aelfe.org/documents/08_24_Skelton.pdf>

I have also been accepted as a speaker for their XII Conference in Galicia, Spain this September. I would encourage those who teach Spanish for medical professionals to attend the conference, if they are able, because it is a good opportunity to learn from one another´s research and experiences. For those who are unable to attend, I would encourage them to keep in mind AEFLE’s journal, Ibérica, as it has some good articles relevant to teaching Spanish for the medical setting. For those interested, I leave you with my abstract for the conference.


The Effect of Dialect: Teaching Lexical Variants to Healthcare Professionals

Ashley Bennink


When considering what terminology to include in language classes for healthcare professionals, it is important not to omit lexical variations between dialects, as they can play a key role in understanding the patient and in providing quality care.  Though recent studies reflect this need and the impact of language and cultural barriers on health outcomes and satisfaction, educators are often left with the task of determining how to select this terminology and how to include it in the course material.  Furthermore, there are few textbooks that offer a broad range of variants and the medical field lacks a catalog of the most frequent lexical variants, which both make the educator’s task more difficult.  My current research aspires to satisfy this need.  In this paper, I first focus on the benefits of teaching lexical variations in language courses for healthcare professionals, specifically using the example of the Latino population and Spanish for medical professionals courses in the Southeast region of the United States.  The data I present is based on a study carried out from January to May 2013 in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia, in which I focused specifically on the dialect of the Mexican immigrants within that region.  Then, I offer some suggestions for how to select this terminology and how to incorporate it within the curriculum.


About abennink

Spanish and English instructor, medical interpreter and health educator. My passion around healthcare, equality, languages and education motivates me to continually seek to develop my skills in each area while also designing ways to use each one to improve the others.
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