Article published in:Developments in Diglossic Settings in the Asian Pacific Region
Edited by Marinus van den Berg
[Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 30:1/2] 2020
► pp. 60–89
Malaysia’s linguistic landscape and language practices in Chinese private clinics
Focus on the Klang Valley
This paper reports on the organization of Malaysia’s linguistic landscape and the implications of this situation for contacts between providers of medical service and patients. The main purpose of this study is to clarify the position of Chinese private clinics in Malaysian society and to better understand language use between Chinese medical personnel and Chinese patients. The fieldwork focused on clinics in the Klang Valley, Malaysia and was carried out between December 2016 and March 2017. The results reveal the complex linguistic situation in the medical domain reflecting the general hierarchical social structure in Malaysia. Chinese patients have different wishes as regards their preferred language environment in these clinics, but generally prefer to use Mandarin Chinese for interaction with doctors. Medical staff also tend to prefer the use of Mandarin Chinese but also understand the need for dialect based interactions to create a feeling of harmony and belonging. The data are used to clarify existing problems in doctor-patient interaction and contribute to the debate of communication discordance in the healthcare domain.
Keywords: linguistic landscape, language practices, medical domain, Malaysia, Mandarin
Published online: 30 June 2020
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