Posts Tagged ‘vocabulary’

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What a Difference a Word Makes

posted: 3.6.15 by Donna Winchell

Language has made the headlines once again. We teach our students that word choice affects their arguments. President Obama has drawn criticism over the last few weeks, mostly from Republicans, for being what some critics consider overly cautious. He has chosen to carefully avoid use of the word “Islamic” in referring to ISIS terrorists [read more]

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Categories: Donna Winchell
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Look it up!

posted: 1.27.15 by Steve Bernhardt

Working on some medical texts last week, I was continually impressed with the ease of looking up unfamiliar words. Pretty much without fail, if I right-clicked on a medical term, Adobe Acrobat would drop a box with the last choice being Look up “xxx”:

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Categories: Steve Bernhardt, Uncategorized
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What’s your word of the year?

posted: 1.22.15 by Andrea Lunsford

Surprisingly (to me at least), Merriam Webster announced “culture” as their Word of the Year for 2014, noting that it was the single most-searched-for term during the last twelve months, coming in ahead of “nostalgia,” the second most-searched-for word. Over at Oxford, they pronounced “vape” the word of the year, in a nod to the e-cigarette movement. And dictionary.com went with “exposure,” related to the fears surrounding Ebola. [read more]

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Categories: Andrea Lunsford, Popular Culture
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A Plethora of Words

posted: 10.7.14 by Steve Bernhardt

Reading sets of first-year essays typically offers teachers some curious insights into the minds of new college students. For several terms, I’ve found myself wondering about the word plethora. It’s of Greek origin, meaning fullness, and it has a specialized medical meaning related to profusion, or excess blood. It’s also a word that turns up more frequently than I would expect in the writings of more than a few of my students. I can only speculate why. [read more]

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Thoughts on Vocabulary (with Questions)

posted: 5.20.11 by archived

Scary stories. Last week a colleague of mine reported in passing that few of her students knew the meaning the word “concise,” which particularly struck her because that’s a word often used in writing instruction. She mentioned also that when she asked students about key vocabulary in assigned reading, she found that few students looked up even those words they didn’t know but were necessary to a basic understanding of an article’s claim or an author’s premises. It’s not a foreign idea to me—that many students have more limited vocabularies than I would have hoped–, but I had not thought deeply enough about how this impacts what they understand of their reading and, more importantly, what I should do as an instructor to address this.

How can my students read a college-level textbook if they don’t know words like “concise”?

Reading and writing. Beyond their self-disclosures about how little some of them read, I can see it in my students’ writing, some of whose misspellings make clear they have not seen the word in print. (With our trusted colleagues we share our private collections of such mistakes, with a tinge of shame ourselves—the one that sticks with me is a student’s “self of steam” that took me a minute to recognize as “self esteem.”)

Because it’s possible to write effectively with simple words, in a writing class we may not emphasize or even acknowledge the importance of students’ developing their vocabularies. For me, this is in part because it’s hard to respond to students who try to use vocabulary they haven’t quite mastered, to address the seemingly contradictory aims of a mature style and a natural voice. [read more]

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Categories: Community College issues, Holly Pappas
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