Updated: Jan 18
As speech-language pathologists, we know communication is an indispensable tool. Many of us spend our days helping children acquire language or adults relearn the words unexpectedly lost to them.
Have you ever thought about communicating in a language other than your own? Learning a second language opens doors to a new culture, uncovers opportunities to travel confidently, and provides a toolbox for more meaningful interpersonal connections.
Learning a second language can expand your reach as a speech therapist.
There are essential resources available for SLPs who interact with individuals who do not speak English proficiently or are learning a language other than English. The use of interpretation and referrals to bilingual SLPs remains extremely important when working with individuals exposed to a language other than English. However, with emerging skills in the language, you can provide a warm interaction for your patients, clients, students, and families by showing responsiveness in their native language.
With the support of interpretation and bilingual SLPs, you can use basic phrases of another language in your interactions to create a space of acceptance, interest, and empowerment. By adding an exchange in a language other than English, you can set aside an implied pressure to impose a new language on a family with solid roots and motivation to hold on to their mother tongue. You can inspire the family to continue teaching their preferred language at home and share facilitation strategies for improved communication and learning.
Hey SLP! If you feel inspired to learn Spanish as a second language, check our Beginner Spanish for Speech-Language Pathology program!
Or shall I say:
Arabic – shukran (shoe-kran)
Chinese, Mandarin – xie xie (she-eh she-eh)
Croatian – hvala (HVAH-lah)
Czech – děkuji (dyekooyih)
Danish – tak (tahg)
Dutch – dank u (dahnk oo)
Estonian – tänan (TA-nahn)
Finnish – kiitos (key-toss)
French – merci (MEHR-see)
German – danke (dahn-kah)
Greek – efharisto (ef-hah-rees-TOH)
Hawaiian – mahalo (ma-HA-lo)
Hindi – dhanyavaad (dun-yuh-vahd) formal, shukriyaa (shook-ree-yuh) informal
Indonesian – terima kasih (Tur-EE-mah KAH-see)
Italian – grazie (GRAHTS-yeh)
Japanese – arigato (ah-ree-GAH-toh)
Korean - kamsahamnida (KAM-sah-ham-NEE-da)
Latvian – paldies (PUHL-dyehs)
Norwegian – takk (tahk)
Polish – dziękuję (Jenkoo-yeh)
Portugese – obrigado (oh-bree-GAH-dooh) masculine/ obrigada (oh-bree-GAH-dah) feminine
Romanian – mulţumesc (mool-tzoo-MESK)
Russian – spasiba (spuh-SEE-buh)
Slovak – Ďakujem (JAH-koo-yehm)
Spanish - gracias (GRAH-syahs)
Swahili - asante (ah-sahn-teh)
Tagalog/Filipino – salamat (sa-LAH-mat)
Thai – khob khun (cob-coohn)
Turkish – teşekkür ederim (teh-shek-uer eh-der-eem)
Vietnamese: cảm ơn (gauhm uhhn)
Amy Contant, M.A., CCC-SLP, CLC
Spanish for Speech Language Pathology, LLC