Medical English in Italian University Courses in Sports Sciences: Some Issues in Focus

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Over the last few decades, the increasingly rapid progress of medical science and technology, together with the growing importance of English as the language of international communication, has made the study of medical English a crucial segment in the curriculum of medical undergraduates. In Italy, medical topics are studied not only in medical degree courses but also in those of sports sciences. This paper focuses attention on some medical English-related issues in sports sciences degree courses in Italian universities. More precisely, the work is divided into four main parts. The first part raises the terminological question concerning the denomination of the discipline “lingua inglese”/“lingua straniera” in sports sciences courses, which is discussed in relation to the ministerial objectives about specialized language teaching in university education. The second part draws attention to the important role that medical English plays in Italian sports sciences degree courses, the curriculum of which is outlined on the basis of its main subjects. In this respect, emphasis is given to English in the domain of sports medicine, one of the fields of knowledge which characterises the sports sciences degree course. Moreover, the importance of the acquisition of the lexicon of sports medicine is highlighted, also through a short account of the main eponyms belonging to the specific domain in question. The third part deals with the issue concerning credits, attendance at classes, and syllabuses in sports sciences courses. Finally, the fourth and last part discusses questions common to all medical English courses like students’ initial linguistic competences, comprehension difficulties in dealing with medical English communication, including subtechnical vocabulary acquisition, and the importance of genre-based and content and language integrated learning (CLIL) approaches to medical English teaching. The main purpose of the work is to draw attention to the importance that medical English syllabuses in sports sciences courses be well-designed in terms of effective methodologies and curriculum dominant subject-oriented contents in order to develop students’ linguistic competences within their chosen professional field. The paper also aims at highlighting the importance of uniformizing the time devoted to medical English teaching in sports sciences courses, also on account of the fact that the same learning-related difficulties in facing the language of medicine in English are essentially shared by all Italian undergraduates.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospitePerspectives in Medical English
Numero di pagine18
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2014

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