Reconceptulizing Language Discordance: Meanings and Experiences of Language Barriers in the U.S. and Taiwan
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Individuals with language barriers may face challenges unique to a host society. By examining and comparing the sociocultural conditions that can result in providers and patients not sharing the same language in the United States and in Taiwan, I argue that (a) language discordance is a social phenomenon that may entail diverging meanings and experiences in different countries; (b) language-discordant patients may not share similar experiences even if they are in the same country; and (c) disparities in language concordance may be confounded with other disparities and cultural particulars that are unique to a host society. In addition, because English is a dominant language in medicine, language-discordant patients’ quality of care in Taiwan can be moderated by their fluency in English.
KeywordsLanguage discordance Cross-cultural care Medical English
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interests
The author reports no conflicts of interests. The study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at The University of Oklahoma.
The study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at The University of Oklahoma.
All participants have offered informed consent prior to participating in the author’s Fulbright study.
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