De-languaging diagnosis (and medicine)

For some time now, I’ve been struck by the ease in which medical diagnosis is rendered in terms language. Doctors seem not to do much more but offer labels. As a linguist, I suppose to I should be happy with this informal Medical Society for Appreciation of Language. Alas, I am not. I think the labelling medic should take a step or two back.

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Linguistics of a psychological questionnaire

I don’t like psychological and psychiatric questionnaires. By reducing human experience into an item, a sentence or a dot on a sheet of paper, they take away what is crucial for experience: a story. As I say this at lectures or other speaking events, I am met with polite nodding and, oftentimes, reassurances that questionnaires are only of minor assistance, very readily discarded. I am met with some hostility, when I start unpicking the linguistic form of such instruments. And this is what this post is about. I want to show why the linguistic form of psychological instruments is important.

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