Languages of Care: first reviews

The new book by Maria Giulia Marini, director of Innovation in the Health and Health area ISTUD, entitled “Languages of Care in Narrative Medicine“, published by Springer, has now been published. To underline the importance of this contribution and its international relevance in the debate about medical humanities, we propose to our readers a short series of comments to the publication by some big names in narrative medicine and Natural Semantic Metalanguage:


This book brings a refreshing new lens to the time-honoured topic of narrative in medicine and healthcare. Medicine has always valued and needed the humanities. Now more than ever, healthcare professionals and academics need to understand and value their patients’ stories – and also use stories in self-reflection.

Trisha Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences and Fellow, Green Templeton College, Oxford


Narrative medicine has moved on from its early years and has now become a diverse international field, offering new perspectives on patients, health professionals and medical practice. In “Languages of Care”, Maria Giulia Marini weaves together a review of narrative methodologies with linguistics, cultural studies, medical humanities, neuroscience and an understanding of the health ecosystem to offer us a fascinating tapestry of ideas about how to transform our approach to care. Written with passion, this is a highly original contribution to the field.

John Launer, Tavistock Clinic, London


This is a trail-blazing book, bringing health care and “human understanding” closer than ever before. A key feature of the book is the use of shared human concepts (the “Natural Semantic Metalanguage”) which can help humanise the relations between sick people and the caring professions by offering a new “language of care”: Basic Human. It’s a language that facilitates empathy and deep human connection. This is the first book to take this perspective on illness and care. Reaching other people through shared concepts is an art which can help us at many times, but perhaps especially when we are ill, or care for the ill. I strongly recommend this book.

Anna Wierzbicka, Australian National University, Canberra


In the Language of Care, Maria Giulia Marini sets out both a theory and a method for applying narrative to foster health and healing. While this study has relevance to a variety of relationships, Marini’s particular focus is on the clinical encounter, where gaps in knowledge, authority and experience tend to exacerbate stress and suffering. (…) What makes Marini’s argument in favour of this humanistic bridge so persuasive is the way in which the entire text is suffused “with” the humanities, applied as theory, rationale and demonstration.

Carol Ann Farkas, Massachussetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science, Boston


Written by

Graduated in Literature at the University of Eastern Piedmont, he's now studying anthropological and ethnological science at the University of Milano-Bicocca. Journalist and writer, he collaborated with many local newspapers and in the 2015 he published his first book "Qui non arriva la pioggia". In the 2017 published "Il peccato armeno, ovvero la binarietà del male".

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.