A cure for monoglottism?

Willem van Meurs
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SIMZINE fights monoglottism in simulationists with multilingual articles, humorously navigating language mishaps in medical simulation

Monoglottism – the ability to speak only one language – is a rare, but serious condition. Fortunately, it is curable.

In its three main languages: Italian, Spanish, and English, and two occasional ones: French and Portuguese, SIMZINE contributes to keeping monoglottism rates in simulationists low. Most of its editors and staff speak three or four languages … half.

We were nevertheless able to intercept explosão de bébes as a mistranslation into Portuguese of baby boom, yet “Titanic stimulation” for the assessment of deep (sic) neuromuscular blockade almost made it into the printed version. One of the chapters in my recent book The Dolls’ Engineer was called “Biomagical engineering”, but that was on purpose. In the debate about the original Flemish-Dutch manneken, the derived French mannequin, and modern Anglo-Saxon manikin, the latter won out, mainly to avoid that the best known monument in Brussels would have to be renamed to Manikin Pis.

We cannot wait for medical simulators to start speaking in multiple tongues, but want to caution developers not to mix up pain and pain (bread in French), and constipação (a regular cold in Portuguese) and its Anglo-Saxon cognate. The dangerous Asparagus syndrome may also surface again.

Next time you read SIMZINE, try switching to a language that you are less familiar with: it is fun and all about simulazione, simulación, and simulation!


Willem van Meurs

Willem van Meurs

Consultant in simulations (self-employed), Lahitte-Toupière, France View all Posts

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2 comments on “A cure for monoglottism?”

  1. As a confirmed monoglot (although I can order two beers in a number of languages) I used to become irrationally bothered when I read the term ‘mannequin’ in the literature. Are these people dressing up their simulators in the latest ‘a la mode’ styles, and if so, why are we not doing this in our centre? Where is MY budget for this? I think this was made worse by one professor who ‘dabbled’ in simulation and seemed to enjoy using the term ‘mannequin’ to the extent that he lingered over the ‘q’ when he spoke the word. One of my first acts when I was handed the show was to ban the word. But in any case, what happened to Esperanto?

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