Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Does he spit in the bath? (and more from a medical Spanish phrase book ...)

Phrase books are a funny thing. They have to anticipate situations and then provide just the right sentence to address that situation.

Sometimes I'm just surprised at the situations that the authors of the book have anticipated.

I posted a while back about the book, "Hindi Made Easy," that my family had somehow acquired when we lived in New Delhi when I was a child. The book was one that had been given to British soldiers during the original occupation of India ... and included phrases that soon became famous in our household: "Let us set fire to the village", and "That man is a horse thief."

Shocking as it was, that book offered a glimpse into another era, and the attitudes of that time.

I wasn't prepared to be quite so surprised when I bought a Spanish medical phrase book for my friend, who is entering a new phase of her life and starting medical school next week. She wanted to be able to connect with her future patients, since she will be living, studying and working in a community where Spanish is prevalent.

But a few sentences in the book did jump out at me, and made me wonder what kinds of situations the authors were anticipating ...

Ellos rezan mucho. - They pray a lot.

Me gusta ver el cielo. - I like to see the sky.

No puede oler la medicina. - He can't smell the medicine.

El no patea la puerta. - He doesn't kick the door.

El escupe en el baño. - He spits in the bath.

Surprisingly (to me), my friend didn't think some of these were so unusual. "I could see that coming up in a psych evaluation," she noted.

And she's right - these aren't phrases that I would normally use, but perhaps they will come in handy for her. And if they do, she will be prepared ....

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