Verbal Interactions between Chinese Doctors and Patients in Cameroon’s Hospitals Cover Image

Les interactions verbales entre médecins chinois et patients dans les hôpitaux camerounais
Verbal Interactions between Chinese Doctors and Patients in Cameroon’s Hospitals


Author(s): Paul Zang Zang, Richard Bertrand Etaba Onana
Subject(s): Sociolinguistics
Published by: Risoprint
Keywords: communication; interpretation; migrant physician; patient; linguistic barriers;

Summary/Abstract: In this article, we focus on a specific linguistic communication situation: linguistic communication between Chinese doctors and patients in Cameroonian hospitals. Starting from a socio-linguistic investigation that we carried out in three Cameroonian hospitals where patients are treated by Chinese doctors, we will show that there is a conflict between the French language spoken by patients and that spoken by the Chinese medics. To communicate, patients try to adapt their talking codes to that of the Chinese. Chinese doctors, on the other hand, seek the services of a linguistic mediator. The issue here is that the Chinese medics speak with a French articulation that is more or less linked to their mother tongue and that the linguistic mediator cannot express his/herself in Chinese but at least he mediates for the Chinese medics and patients to understand each other. This analysis lead us to conclude that, despite the efforts made by patients and linguistic mediators to align their diction to that of the Chinese medics, communication did not improve. Moreover, the Cameroonian linguistic mediator needs to know not only the natural language of the medic but also have interpreting skills. This is why the services of professional interpreters are necessary in Cameroonian hospitals.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 09
  • Page Range: 31-45
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: French