Book Cover

Building Confianza

Empowering Latinos/as Through Transcultural Health Care Communication

Dalia Magaña

164 pp. 6 x 9
3 illustrations
9 tables
Pub Date: September, 2021

Subjects: Latinx & Latin American Studies
Cultural Studies

Series: Global Latin/o Americas

order Hardcover $99.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-1481-7
order Paperback $29.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-5809-5
Order PDF ebook$29.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-8162-8

“This timely book offers an important contribution to the field of health care by providing a thorough and nuanced linguistic analysis. It is replete with detailed, authentic discourse examples that can be used to model appropriate interactions with patients and enhance current instruction of Spanish for health care professions.” —Karol Hardin, author of Conversational Spanish for Medical Professions: Activity Manual

Dalia Magaña’s Building Confianza demonstrates that effective doctor-patient communication in Spanish requires that practitioners not only have knowledge of Spanish but also have transcultural knowledge of Latino/a values and language use. Using linguistic analysis to study real-time doctor-patient interactions, Magaña probes the role of interpersonal language and transcultural competency in improving patient-centered health care with Spanish-speaking Latino/as, highlighting successful examples of how Latino/a cultural constructs of confianza (trust), familismo (family-orientation), personalismo (friendliness), respeto (respect), and simpatía (kindness) can be deployed in medical interactions. She proposes that transcultural interactions entail knowing patients’ cultural values and being mindful about creating an interpersonal connection with patients through small talk, humor, self-disclosure, politeness, and informal language, including language switching and culturally appropriate use of colloquialisms. By explicitly articulating discourse strategies doctors can use in communicating with Spanish-speaking patients, Building Confianza will aid both students and providers in connecting to communities of Spanish speakers in health care contexts and advancing transcultural competence.

Dalia Magaña is Associate Professor of Spanish linguistics at the University of California, Merced.


List of Illustrations



Chapter 1        Communicating with Latino/as in Health Care: Language Barriers and Transcultural Competence

Chapter 2        Psychiatric Interviews as a Genre and Patients’ Narratives

Chapter 3        Hacer Plática: Small Talk Subgenres

Chapter 4        Register of the Psychiatric Interview: Interlocutors, Power, and Solidarity

Chapter 5        Translanguaging in Health Care Interactions

Chapter 6        Expressing Verbal Modality and Other Politeness Strategies in Psychiatric Interviews

Chapter 7        Conclusions: Spanish and Transcultural Discourse in Health, Teaching, and Research

Appendix I      Summary of Patients’ Backgrounds

Appendix II     Sample of a Complete Interview



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