Drowning in a sea of jargon

I can’t believe it’s been almost a week since my last post! Grad school has completely taken over all of my reading time. I’m reading super boring books about learning/teaching methods and how to write research papers. There are only two books that I’m actually somewhat enjoying. One is about linguistics and the other is about teaching grammar. The biggest problem with all of these books is that they’re so jargony. I don’t understand half the words in them and end up running to my dictionary every five seconds – and even then I don’t get it. This is why, today I invested in the Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics. Now, instead of the generic definition of the words, I’ll get the English Language Professional’s definition. Hopefully it will help. Otherwise I’m going to spend this whole semester with my mind boggled.

A sampling of the stuff I’ll be looking up constantly this semester:

Subsumption theory, equilibration, syntax, allophone, phoneme, copular verb, interlanguage, metalanguage…the list goes on.

Also, I’m pretty sure these linguist types have made up many a-word, like systematicity. Really?

No wonder it’s so difficult to learn English. I’ve been speaking it my whole life and I feel like I’m in a foreign country now that I’m studying the language itself.

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Published in: on September 19, 2008 at 4:38 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I took a class called “Grammar and Language” a while ago, and I was totally overwhelmed by just how hard it is to understand English. I mean, we have an intuitive sense of grammar just from being English speakers, but it’s really difficult to translate that into jargon and explanations for people who don’t speak the language naturally. Crazy!Kim

  2. As a proofreader I sort of run into this type of stuff sometimes, but reading the law is pretty different from reading fiction or stories in newspapers/magazines. There’s also a whole different set of rules as to what is/isn’t acceptable in terms of word usage and grammar. It’s similar, but different. The only word I am familiar with in the list you wrote was syntax. Equilibration? Eh…

  3. Wow. I remember a brief stint learning about sentence diagramming, and that was about as technical as I’ve ever gotten. Blech!


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