English as a lingua Franca in public health care services: The Spanish challenge

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© 2015, Immigrant Institutet. All rights reserved. Throughout the last few decades, English has become the lingua franca for professionals in many fields. However, within the framework of health services in Spain, English does not seem to work as the main vehicle of communication among providers and users. Therefore, the goal of this study is to shed light into how and why certain categorization of languages frequently emerge and circulate in public health institutions. In this sense, our method is based on ethnographic fieldwork and includes 10 interviews with key members of one Health Care Unit for women. Our results seem to corroborate that medical discourses work at institutional, professional, and moral levels and that the way the Institution supports or prioritizes English, in particular, unfolds certain linguistic hierarchies underlying governmental policies as it is made more accessible and considered “better” by medical professionals and staff.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Intercultural Communication
Issue number39
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • English
  • Health
  • Language proficiency
  • Lingua franca
  • Migration


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