The Linguistic Gap in Doctor-Patient Communication in Algeria

Khadidja Belaskri


The main purpose of this paper is to shed some light on language use in the Algerian healthcare settings where a multilingual situation is prevailing. It reports on communication and linguistic barriers that both patients and doctors encounter during medical visits. The Algerian physicians are taught and trained exclusively in French. Thus, they feel more comfortable when they use French as it enables them to be more informative when they speak about symptoms, diagnosis and treatments. Consequently, when they talk to their patients they inevitably use much French and medical terms which are likely to be unintelligible mainly when they address patients who are not bilinguals or have little or no health literacy in the French language. Thus, we suppose that communication problems arise as a result of linguistic barriers which are due to issues related to proficiency levels in some language varieties, mainly French, as it predominates over Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), Algerian Arabic (AA) and the other Algerian local varieties in the Algerian healthcare settings.


bilingualism; doctor-patient communication; language predominance; linguistic barriers; translation difficulties

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Data publikacji: 2018-01-02 15:01:01
Data złożenia artykułu: 2017-06-15 03:46:15


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