Where can I learn medical German?
November 11, 2016 1:32 PM   Subscribe

I have taken German language classes in the past, but I've never learned medical German. I think there's some overlap with English medical terminology and I can probably guess many words, but I'd also like to be able to learn the terminology so that I can express myself and not only understand similar-sounding words.

Aside from the Multilingual Glossary, are there any other books or websites that I could learn from? I know there are some courses that take place in Germany, but I wouldn't be able to travel to attend those. Thank you!
posted by gemutlichkeit to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What I tend to do when I want to learn a particular type of field's words in another language is to read w whole lot of Wikipedia articles. It's great because you can usually find the same article in English too to check your understanding. Or if your German isn't that strong yet, read the English one first, then switch to the German site.

So go down the wiki rabbit hole on medical topics that you find interesting, just in German.
posted by lollusc at 1:49 PM on November 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

I second the Wikipedia suggestion.

An off the wall suggestion: I'm not in medicine and kind of have my doubts about how far this would get you in an actual clinical setting, but my medical vocabulary usually comes from reading the sports section because of the discussion of injuries. If you're interested in muscles and ligaments, it's surprisingly effective.
posted by hoyland at 3:38 PM on November 11, 2016

When I need to look up engineering words, I use Leo.org (also Leo.de). I think it's likely you will be able to find medical terms there too.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:56 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just googled "medizinische Termonologie" and found the following resources in German. I don't know how confident you feel studying from German material, but I hope they will be useful to you.

1. A 90 page script on medical terminology from the Berlin Charité, which is evidently used by med students during their practical semester. The thing about German / German medical terminology is that a lot of it is Latin and Greek but, unless you are a medical professional, you'll mostly be using the German, traditional terms. In this script, which contains what looks like ALL THE WORDS used in medicine, you'll find both the technical and the traditional terms, as in "placenta, -ae f. der Mutterkuchen, die Nachgeburt" (yes, the first term is literally "mother cake"!). So you'll be learning both.

At the end of the document there are about 20 pages of exercises. It looks quite awesome, I really think it will be useful to you... its discovery has certainly made my day!

2. There is also the EU's Terminology IATE which has everything ever.

3. A course syllabus from the University of Lübeck with the following book references. Judging by the publishers, they all look like serious works. I'm sure you can get at least some of them at Amazon!
FANGERAU, Heiner: Medizinische Terminologie - ein Kompaktkurs. 2. Aufl. Essen: Woeste, 2007. ISBN 978-3-88754-042-5. € 8.70
MURKEN, Axel Hinrich: Lehrbuch der Medizinischen Terminologie. Grundlagen der ärztlichen
Fachsprache. 4. überarb. Aufl. Stuttgart: Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, 2003. ISBN 3-8047-1974-0. € 23.50
PSCHYREMBEL Klinisches Wörterbuch. 261. neu bearb. Auflage. [1.Aufl. 1894] Berlin: de Gruyter, 2007. ISBN 978-3-11-018534-8. € 39.95 [mit CD € 59.95]
SPRINGER-Lexikon Medizin. Berlin: Springer, 2004. ISBN 978-3-540-20412-1. € 29.95
WILMANNS, Juliane C.; SCHMITT, Günther: Die Medizin und ihre Sprache. Lehrbuch und Atlas
der Medizinischen Terminologie nach Organsystemen. Landsberg: ecomed, 2002. ISBN 3-609- 64390-0. € 49.-

posted by ipsative at 10:13 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just realized I went on a terminology trip when what you need is also probably some German as a foreign language lessons on the specific topic of medicine (going to the doctor, hospital, etc.).

For that, I can highly recommend the magazine Deutsch Perfekt, which is aimed at DaF students and has good online content categorized into different levels (plus excellent premium content for paid subscribers). Most of my German teachers used some material from that magazine when I was learning the language. If you think it'll be worth it and are willing to pay, they have a 2-month "mini subscription" ("mini-Abo") for 11 euros, which would allow you to access their premium content, including a 24-page special edition called Beim Arzt ("At the Doctor's").

Beyond that the Goethe Institute website has a series of material related to life in Germany, of which a lesson is called Beim Arzt. It includes texts, dialogues, videos and exercises.

Here is an Austrian website with 6 lessons on German at the doctor and the apothecary. The audio is in Austrian German though, which is slightly different from standard German.

Also quite awesome is a European Project called Intercultural Medical Communication in Europe (description in English) that has a complete, public online course with all materials for foreign doctors in Germany to learn medical German, as well as a course for other medical professionals (nurses, etc.). A lot of it might be hard to navigate if your German isn't very advanced and you are working alone - I think it is designed for blended-learning courses and students who already have advanced medical knowledge - , but hey, it's free and, as far as I can tell, very well done. Their glossaries (1, 2) are quite nice. They also link to a German online medical Lexikon.
posted by ipsative at 11:24 PM on November 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

I speak German as a foreign language and back before I had ever been to Germany I learned a surprising amount from film and television programs. You might be able to pick up some terms and phrases from watching medical dramas like House, which may be available on Netflix with German subtitles and/or dubbed into German.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 12:40 AM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

we don't know enough about what kind of expertise you want to acquire, e.g. if you want to read medical articles in a very specialised area where a lot of work is being published in German (of the top of my head I can only think of one spinal procedure here!) then the suggestions above are really great!

However, if you are thinking of an opportunity where you may be working in a medical field in German then House is as far from what you need as I can imagine!

the medical hierarchy in Germany is still far more rigid then I expected and often a lack of awareness of cultural norms rather than linguistic norms is where you might come a cropper.

(How was I to know she wouldn't answer to anything less than Frau Dr Dr.....?!) Feel free to memail me if you can't share more here, married into a medical German family, work in the health service.
posted by Wilder at 6:11 AM on November 13, 2016

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