Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Doctor speak

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 11 October 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6537
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

My grandfather was born in Berlin and was bilingual. For his sake, my father was keen for me to learn German. I am no linguist. In the school language lab while attempting to remember how to ask for the time of the train to Hamburg, the only phrases I could recall came from Commando comics. These never seemed appropriate. I did try to speak to my grandfather, but he was deaf, and he never understood my shouted broken German. So he answered me in English. Languages are …

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