If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Hospital Slang for Patients: Crocks, Gomers, Gorks, and Others

David Paul Gordon
Language in Society
Vol. 12, No. 2 (Jun., 1983), pp. 173-185
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4167396
Page Count: 13
  • Download PDF
  • Cite this Item

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Hospital Slang for Patients: Crocks, Gomers, Gorks, and Others
Preview not available

Abstract

According to a widespread view, people or experiences that evoke painful feelings of empathy, anxiety, or fear can be dealt with by giving them humorous, derogatory, or evasive names. Such terms allow the release or avoidance of unpleasant emotion. At first glance, hospital slang expressions for patients appear to provide numerous examples of this, but closer inspection suggests very different conclusions. Patient conditions which may be expected to create particular anxiety or distress do not lead to slang labels. Slang terms for patients fall into four categories, three of which characterize types of patients who claim more attention for their conditions than is warranted. The fourth category is made up of positive or neutral descriptive terms. Hospital slang for patients serves social as well as expressive functions. Rapport within a group and rapport between individuals are distinct phenomena. When embedded in contexts that avoid individualized expressions of emotion or experience, hospital slang may promote group rapport at the same time that it maintains individual distance. In this respect is is similar to other kinds of slang, and other discourse devices.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
173
    173
  • Thumbnail: Page 
174
    174
  • Thumbnail: Page 
175
    175
  • Thumbnail: Page 
176
    176
  • Thumbnail: Page 
177
    177
  • Thumbnail: Page 
178
    178
  • Thumbnail: Page 
179
    179
  • Thumbnail: Page 
180
    180
  • Thumbnail: Page 
181
    181
  • Thumbnail: Page 
182
    182
  • Thumbnail: Page 
183
    183
  • Thumbnail: Page 
184
    184
  • Thumbnail: Page 
185
    185