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Friday, 6 March 2015

English is a wonderful and rich language

Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once.

English is a rich and complex language. It can also be confusing, particularly when a change in emphasis, where the spelling is the same, or with the addition or deletion of just one letter can change alter the whole meaning of the word. An example of this happened to me only yesterday (5th March) when I had an appointment with a consultant at a local hospital. I had arranged this appointment over the telephone a couple of days earlier, following a conversation with my GP. She had advised me to make the necessary arrangements and that her referral letter would be sent to the hospital through the post as normal.
Arriving at the hospital in good time, I completed the usual formalities of confirming my registration on their system and awaited the call. The consultant duly arrived and conducted me through to his consulting room where we sat down and commenced the appointment. I described to him the symptoms which I had related to my GP previously as the referral letter had not actually arrived, but he did however have a rather smudged and ink stained fax, which contained a brief summary of my medical records.
After a while with a broad smile on his face, he stopped me in mid sentence and enquired whether my referral was to neurology or urology. It seems that during the telephone conversation with the reception and appointments desk some 36 hours before, a mistake or misunderstanding or mishearing had occurred and I was now in the presence of a consultant urologist. We both had a good laugh at the situation, as I commented that it was indeed fortunate that he had not already commenced a physical examination of the “problem”.
We have now resolved the confusion and I shall be seeing a consultant neurologist next week.
English is a wonderful and rich language made even more complicated when a case of mishearing words enters the equation.