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ISSN : 1226-3206(Print)
Studies in Modern Grammar Vol.105 pp.101-122

The Patients’ Lexicons in Migrant Worker-Domestic Doctor Interactions at a Free-of-Charge Medical Center

Ki-tae Kim**
* This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2016S1A5A8018906).
** Professor, Keimyung University


The present study investigated the patients’ lexicons in unfolding migrant worker-domestic doctor interactions at a free-of-charge medical center for migrants (Center B) against those at a large general hospital (Hospital A) and those at another small free-of-charge hospital (Hospital C). In so doing, the focus was on the patients’ lexicons at Center B against those at the other institutions. Overall, the data at Center B consisted of approximately 80 consultations that the researcher himself participant-observed and audiorecorded at the three institutions over a span of two years. A qualitative investigation of the patients’ lexicons at Center B demonstrated that the patients who visited Center B initiated far more advanced scientific terminologies. Also, they adopted more nominalized forms, The lexical content and form appeared to result from the fact that the migrant patients were advanced degree seekers in agriculture, engineering, and science. Thus, the patients’ lexicons at Center B illustrated that the finding of the previous studies which argued that the patients at free-of-charge clinics were mostly unskilled laborers were oversimplistic and even stereotyping. The present study proposes a more critical applied linguistic study of migrant patient-domestic doctor consultations.