By Nicole Martino-Murray
“My doot id duk!! My doot id duk!!
As my 2-year old daughter yells from the backseat, I immediately go into interpretation mode.
“What is she saying?”
“Did she see a duck?”
I can’t see her, so I am left only with my trained ear. After a few seconds, I figure it out…
“My foot is stuck!!”
For parents of toddlers, this is a guessing game we play multiple times a day. We even think it’s cute to hear to the ways children mispronounce everyday words and phrases.
But what happens when this guessing game occurs in the healthcare industry?
As the number of foreign-born healthcare professionals in the United States continues to rise, so do derivatives of Standard American English pronunciation. This results in a unique, but sometimes challenging communication dynamic in the workplace.
While foreign accents are an inevitable occurrence in individuals who speak English as a second language, the degree to which the accent affects his or her intelligibility becomes a key factor. Some accents are considered mild and easy to understand, while others are stronger and more difficult for a listener.
Many foreign-born healthcare professionals complete rigorous English training and have a strong grasp of the language, yet their accent can still negatively affect their communicative effectiveness, as a majority of ESL programs do not place great emphasis on the actual pronunciation of English. [Read more…]