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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

What are the different types of medical specialists called in Spanish?

You may already know that the Spanish word for doctor is either ‘médico’ or ‘doctor/a’, that a nurse is an ‘enfermero/a’ and that a receptionist is a ‘recepcionista’, but what about all the other medical specialists?

medical professions spanish
Do you know what a podólogo or logopeda mean in Spanish? (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP)

Because of their common Latin root in both English and Spanish, most medical titles can be easily recognised by anglophones learning Spanish. Not all of them, however.

Here we’ll go over some of the medical specialties and how to call them in Spanish. 

A couple of pointers before we start. Remember that the syllable that has the accent on the vowel is the one you stress in Spanish. 

Also, in Spanish a “g” followed by an a,o or u is pronounced like “gh” sound like ghost or get, but a “g” followed by e or i is pronounced with a “ha” sound like hat or head.

And as most Spanish professions differentiate the person’s gender, the masculine article is “el” and the noun usually ends in “o” and the feminine article is “la” and most often ends in “a”.  There are some exceptions such as médico (doctor) where the article changes but the noun always ends in “o”.

Here is a list of the majority of medical specialists and helath professionals and how they are referred to in Spain.

Surgeon: el cirujano, la cirujana. Depending on the type of surgeon it can be cirujano cardiovascular, pediátrico etc or in the case of a neurosurgeon it’s a neurocirujano/a. 

Anaethetist (anaesthesia): el anestesiólogo, la anestesióloga

  

Cardiologist (heart): el cardiólogo, la cardióloga 

Dental surgeon: el odontólogo/la odontóloga

Dermatologist (skin): el dermatólogo,la dermatóloga 

Endocrinologist (hormones): el endocrinólogo, la endocrinóloga

Gastroenterologist (stomach): el gastroenterólogo, la gastroenterólogo. Most people instead el/la médico digestivo

Gynaecologist (female reproductive system): el ginecólogo, la ginecóloga

Occupational therapist: el terapeuta ocupacional, la terapeuta ocupacional 

Ophthalmologist (eyes): el oftalmólogo, la oftalmóloga 

Oncologist (cancer): el oncólogo , la oncóloga 

Orthopaedist (musculoskeletal): el ortopedista, la ortopedista 

Orthopaedic surgeon: el traumatólogo,la traumatóloga

Otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat – ENT): el otorrinolaringólogo , la otorrinolaringóloga. Often shortened to el/la otorrino.

Paediatrician (children): el pediatra, la pediatra

Podiatrist or chiropodist (feet): el podólogo, la podóloga

Physiotherapist (injury, illness or disability therapy): el fisioterapeuta, la fisioterapeuta. Often shortened to el/la fisio.

 

Psychologist (mental health): el (p)sicólogo, la (p)sicóloga 

Psychiatrist (mental health): el psiquiatra  , la psiquiatra 

Pulmonologist (lungs): el neumólogo, la neumóloga

Radiologist (X-rays, MRI, CT): el radiólogo, la radióloga 

Rheumatologist (arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles, and bones): el reumatólogo  , la reumatóloga

Speech therapist: el logopeda, la logopeda

Urologist (urinary system): el urólogo, la uróloga

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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Spanish Word of the Day: Chungo

This adjective is essential slang talk in Spain, a word with lots of meanings, all of them fairly negative.

Spanish Word of the Day: Chungo

Chungo is a colloquial way of saying that something is difficult, dodgy or bad. 

It can be used to describe a variety of scenarios and it’s a great way of talking like a native Spanish speaker. 

You can talk about the weather being chungo if there are ominous black clouds up ahead.

If you’re stepping into a dodgy neighbourhood, then watch out because it’s un barrio chungo

If you bought a hairdryer at the rastro (flea market) and it doesn’t work properly, then it’s clearly chungo, and the seller is just as chungo.

Maybe you’ve just sat an exam with complicated questions, you’d call it un examen chungo.

Or if you don’t feel very well, then you’re the one that is chungo

There’s even an expression to say that things aren’t looking good – la cosa está chunga.

All in all, chungo is a very versatile adjective that you can incorporate into most daily speech even though it’s colloquial. 

Here are some examples to help you get used to using chungo.

Example:

Está el tiempo un poco chungo, mejor no vamos a la playa.

The weather isn’t very good today, it’s best if we don’t go to the beach. 

Example:

¡Ojo! Es un tío bastante chungo así que no te fíes de él.

Be careful! He’s a pretty dodgy guy so don’t trust him. 

Example:

Le has comprado un perfume muy chungo a mamá por el Día de la Madre.

You’ve bought Mum a really crappy perfume for Mother’s Day.

Example:

El barrio de El Príncipe en Ceuta es muy chungo, ¡ten cuidado!

El Príncipe neighbourhood in Ceuta is very dodgy, be careful!

 

Example:

Me encuentro un poco chungo, con mareos y nauseas. 

I’m feeling a bit bad, I’m dizzy and nauseous. 

Example:

¿Dama de honor cuando el novio es tu ex? ¡Qué situación más chunga!

Maid of honour when the groom is your ex? ¡That’s an uncomfortable situation!

Example:

¡La cosa está chunga! El Barça tiene que marcar cinco goles para clasificarse.

Things aren’t looking good. Barça have to score five goals to qualify.

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