Addressing Language Barriers

Don Osborn dzo at
Thu Jul 3 16:20:15 UTC 2008

(this is what I get for writing in a public space. The middle sentence in
the last paragraph would read more clearly as: "In turn it limits how a
large number of people think of liguistic diversity.")

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-lgpolicy-list at
[mailto:owner-lgpolicy-list at] On Behalf Of Don Osborn
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2008 11:54 AM
To: lgpolicy-list at
Subject: RE: Addressing Language Barriers

I've been given to thinking recently that "language barrier" is becoming
terribly cliché and more than that exists itself as a skewed way of
referring to communication issues that we all know exist when two speakers
do not share any language or when a message is in a language someone does
not master.

What if the conference were titled something like this?:
"Policy Briefing: Building Language Bridges for More Effective Health Care
for Millions."
... doesnÂ’t that call to mind a more positive, proactive approach to dealing
with an apparent issue in health care delivery for linguistically diverse

Such frequent - seemingly automatic - use of "language barrier" to refer to
situations where more than one language is involved seems to reflect an
equation of multiple languages equaling a problem. In turn it limits how
many people think of liguistic diversity. Not appealing here for PC
terminology, but rather some measure of reflection before choosing the terms
to use.

Don Osborn

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-lgpolicy-list at
[mailto:owner-lgpolicy-list at] On Behalf Of Harold
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2008 9:49 AM
To: lp
Subject: Addressing Language Barriers

Addressing Language Barriers
by siobhan

The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) recently released two new
publications in conjunction with hosting a language access conference,
"Policy Briefing: Addressing Language Barriers That Impact Health Care
for Millions."

The reports, entitled, "Serving Patients with Limited English
Proficiency: Results of a Community Health Center Survey" and
"Language Access:Understanding the Barriers and Challenges in Primary
Care Settings: Perspectives from the Field," address the
characteristics of and the steps being taken to serve limited English
proficient patients in the nation's community health centers and
clinics. These reports and other language access resources can be
found at: [posted on
Kansas Rural Health Information Service (KRHIS)]

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008 at 11:50 am
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