Vocabulary words - jargon

        Whatís a monkey dish? A fam trip? Looping?

        English is a vital and dynamic language. This is reflected in the growth of its vocabulary over hundreds of years. English speakers of two hundred years ago would have difficulty in understanding todayís conversations because of the many new words and uses.

        Industries and occupations have developed words and expressions that are largely known and understood only by people who work in their field. When they expand their conversations to include outsiders, they are faced with puzzled looks because the listeners donít understand what they are talking about.

        The same phenomenon happens within generations. This is fertile ground for communication between parents and kids at home. Each of these groups knows vocabulary that is particular to their work, age, or schooling. Having a word or term show up in vocabulary gives both a teaching and a learning opportunity. Itís also one of those times that a younger person can demonstrate expertise or knowledge to an older one, becoming the teacher and sharing information that the other does not have.

        There are many advantages to such interchanges:

        * The people involved provide greater insight into each otherís worlds.

        * The recipients of this knowledge have increased understanding of the profession or industry under discussion.

        * All involved share a playfulness with the language.

        * All parties learn to show an interest and willingness to understand each other through their specialized vocabulary.

        * Everyone understands that other people's experiences are different. Those differences can be expressed by their varied vocabularies.

        * Now that you have made it through to the end of the column, I can explain the vocabulary in the first sentence:

        A "monkey dish" is a small bowl used in the restaurant industry for side dishes. Travel agents take "fam trips" to familiarize themselves with new locations. "Looping" refers to the process through which two teachers "loop" between two consecutive grades during a two-year period. For example, Teacher A teaches second grade while Teacher B teaches third; the following year, Teacher A retains her class and takes them to third grade, while Teacher B returns to second grade to begin with a new class.


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