Narrative Medicine Across Countries: Bridging the Gap of Cultural Differences Through Linguistic Methodology, from Universal to Local Cultural Scripts of Illness. The Narrative of an Intercontinental Collaboration on Linguistics

  • Maria Giulia Marini


Narratives can be collected in various ways: orally, through an open interview (with no fixed questions letting the speakers follow their stream of consciousness) or through written text using either under the form of free narrative without prompts. These can also be collected using semi-structured illness plots (related to the broader meaning of illness, i.e. of disruption from a previous state of wellbeing), with prompts that follow the diachronic unfolding (past, present, future) of illness. Nonetheless, our experience shows that those who narrate eventually develop their narrations by spontaneously following what is identified as the mental illness plot, which unfolds from past to present to future. Using free narratives and a semi-structured illness plot, we found no major differences. This is probably because most of us live with the ‘continuity of the self’, i.e. a consciousness of continuity in time, with memories of the past, here and now of the present time, and the uncertainties of the future (Ramachandran 2012).

Keywords of the Natural Semantic Metalanguage

People Here Far Know Feel See Hear Do Can Happen Say 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Giulia Marini
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Healthcare InnovationFondazione ISTUDMilanItaly

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