When it comes to defining the concept of “bridge the gap” or “bridging the gap” we refer to connecting concepts. When these concepts or items have similar qualities or when we are trying to connect the dots between those elements, we are also trying to bridge the gap. Furthermore, what we are trying to accomplish is to reduce the difference between two points that might be quite different.

Bridge the gap meaning

The origin of the phrase to bridge the gap

Merriam-Webster defines the idiom as “to have qualities of two different groups or things”. As with many other idioms in the English language, the phrase is comprised of two main words: bridge and gap.

Bridge is a word that originated from the Old English term “brycgian”. This ancient term, in its root meaning, indicates to make a causeway. At the other end of the idiom, we have the word Gap.

Gap is a word that emerged at the dawn of the 14th-century which significance is no other than an opening in a wall, a break, a breach. When you put them together, you could say you are trying to make a causeway between spaces.

Later on, probably during the 17th century we see a broader meaning given to “bridge the gap”. At this point, the idiom is used to describe unfilled space or interval.

Stop a gap, later changed to stopgap, was something that was contrived to meet an urgent need or emergency. The metaphorical meaning of bridge the gap came in after this version of to stop a gap was rather popular. The use of stopgap and bridge the gap as idioms where not formalize until the late 1800s, where some newspapers started to use the idiom regularly.

 

What does ‘to bridge the gap’ mean?

When it comes to defining the concept of “bridge the gap” or “bridging the gap” we refer to connecting concepts. When these concepts or items have similar qualities or when we are trying to connect the dots between those elements, we are also trying to bridge the gap. Furthermore, what we are trying to accomplish is to reduce the difference between two points that might be quite different.

In the academic world, we can definitely say that scholarships are meant to bridge the gap between students with financial resources and those who don’t have access to financial resources. In the case of linguistics, medical interpreters bridge the gap of communication between medical providers that deliver care in the country’s main language and the patients who are limited or non-speakers of the country’s main language. With the aforementioned in mind, the Cross-Cultural Health Care Program created the Bridging the Gap Medical Interpreting program.

Examples of Bridge the Gap

The idea of bridging the gap is commonplace in business and casual conversations. You can see a few examples below. From the most literally use of the idiom to some considered more figurative.

  • Literally, a bridge to connect two points.

    Don’t worry, there are rocks bridging the gap up ahead. We will be able to cross the river with ease.

  •  Serving as a way to connect disparate people or groups.

    In the US, English is used by interpreters to bridge the gap between medical providers and limited English proficiency patients.

  • To alleviate the effects of shortcomings, temporarily most of the time

    I was hoping to borrow some money at the end of the month to bridge the gap until I get my paycheck.

Journalistic Examples

  • Bridging the gap between humans and computers – cnn.com
  • How a London community is bridging the gap to reach minorities hard-hit by the pandemic – cnn.com
  • Bridging the gap between High School and College, at a price – nytimes.com
  • Bridging the gap between Mothers and Daughters in Iran – nytimes.com

Summary

Bridge the Gap is one of the most used idioms in the English language. It describes what is needed in order to connect ideas, spaces and concepts. To bridge the gap is to connect two otherwise unrelated things by adding something or by finding common ground. Therefore, when you are able to use this idiom you might be defining a brand new way of doing something. In our case, as medical interpreters, our job of helping people to bridge the communication gap is a rather key element in the medical world and the current diverse population that can be found anywhere within the United States.

If you want to learn how to help to Bridge the Gap when language becomes a barrier, please feel free to contact us.

 

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