Medical Language TERMINOLOGY IN CONTEXT
Congratulations on choosing Medical Language: Terminology in Context, a unique, progressive alternative to the teaching and learning of medical terminology. The approach that you will find in this text makes use of the latest and most authoritative information that we have regarding how adults learn and retain language skills. This is a book that promotes language acquisition. It is written from the philosophical stance that medical terminology and medical language form an advanced and career-specific subset of the English language and that the best way to actively learn this language is through experiencing it as it is found in clinical scenarios.
This book is based in the context of real-world health care. The study of medical terminology is embedded in context across a broad spectrum of careers and patient care, including the assessment of health, diagnosis, treatment, disease, illness, and injury. Learners walk hand in hand with health and allied health professionals as they care for five specific patients. Each chapter begins with and then follows the patient care of one of the five main characters: one child, two adults, and two older adults who have all been in the same motor vehicle accident. A premature baby is eventually added into the mix.
Another unique feature of this book is that medical language and medical terminology are dif- ferentiated. Medical terminology includes those technical, specific, standardized, and precise words, terms, and phrases that are used in medicine, the health sciences, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and so on. Alternatively, medical language consists of words, phrases, jargon, acronyms, abbreviations, terms, and expressions that are used less formally to communicate about a patient’s status, to confer with peers, and to be sure that meaning is understood during interactions with patients. Health and allied health professionals use a blend of these two vocabularies (lexis). The recognition and use of this career-specific body of language leads to effective and meaningful communication among care providers and their colleagues.
Purpose and Audience
The single most important goal of this book is health literacy, which refers to the degree to which learners are able to obtain, process, and understand basic health information, processes, and procedures and to communicate effectively within this genre. Medical terminology provides that foundation. Terms are presented within the contexts of human anatomy, physiology, pathology, wellness, patient experiences, and so on, so that they may be fully learned rather than simply remembered. The primary learning goal is achieved when learners are able to transfer what is learned into fluent and accurate communication within the appropriate contexts and when language acquisition and competency are demonstrated through use. In this regard, language acquisition is both functional and communicative.
A second learning goal of this book is that of helping learners to develop knowledge of and insight into various health careers. The culture of the health and allied health professions is embedded in the language that is used by the members of those professions. Written and oral competencies in the necessary language provide a means of entry and a point of access for newcomers into the culture of the workplace and into the ranks of the interdisciplinary health-care team. Through contextual learning, this book provides an opportunity for learners to acculturate into the health and allied health professions and to achieve a professional identity. Competency in career-specific language signals to other members of the group that you are one of them.
This is a book for adult learners who are seeking careers that require knowledge of and skills that involve medical terminology and medical language. It is written from that pedagogical stance
vocabulary in meaningful contexts to promote language acquisition. This is accomplished by
developing the ability to communicate with the use of medical terminology in the contexts of health, health-care, and allied health careers.
Pedagogically, Medical Language: Terminology in Context takes a lexical approach to language acquisition by developing the learner’s proficiency with words, word parts, and word combinations. This is enhanced through the exploration of the target vocabulary that is used in health and allied health care, and it includes the development of structural skills for word, phrase, and sentence composition as well. When new terms are presented, they are defined, described, and then used in a meaningful contextual manner. Lexically based learning activities provide opportunities that facilitate the recognition of how language is used: where, when, and in what context.
Contextual learning (corpus linguistics) supports language acquisition. Vocabulary is presented in real-world contexts through patient updates, discussions, and dialogues. Adult learners can relate to the material as it reflects on their own wealth of experience and knowledge related to both health and illness. The approach teaches through example how language and terminology in context are used across these broad concepts, as well as across the life span. In doing so, it also sheds light on grammatical features that are common in medical language. These include the career-specific use of jargon (institutionalized utterances), acronyms, and so on.
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