2018-06-17, a Sunday

fancy vocabulary is bad

thoughts english-hate vocabulary

In all subjects, we learn vocabulary terms: math (contrapositive), science (gastrocnemius), social studies (appeasement), and English (equivocate). In the first three subjects, learning the terms is useful; our teachers often use them rather than redundantly repeating its definition, and since they are used enough in class, it isn’t too hard to memorize their meanings.

Except for English.

vocabulary in English is silly

English’s words rarely have anything to do with what we are learning right now; at most, they define a few terms used in the current reading. They are rarely used in class, and though I’d expect the teachers to expect us to use them in our assignments, they seem surprised when we actually do.

The words tend to come in lists with no common theme. Students are expected to at least memorize their meanings for some kind of vocabulary quiz in the future.

I’m assuming these words are meant to allow us to easier understand the content we read, but we have technology that renders this unnecessary. Perhaps they’re training us for the SAT or future tests in college? I don’t really see why they should test us on such a diverse yet arbitrary selection of words.

vocabulary of English is silly

The definition of a language is

a system of communication

Definitions are biconditionals:

The contrapositives of conditionals are true:

What does this have to do with vocabulary?

If you were to use your fancy arsenal of dictionary oddities on an English-speaking 5-year-old, are they likely to understand you? No. Instead, you would have failed to communicate successfully to the 5-year-old.

Thus, whatever system of words you are using isn’t a language. Remember the statement from earlier?

If something isn’t a system of communication, it isn’t a language.


Hence, you weren’t speaking English to that 5-year-old.

My point is that vocabulary is a bad idea if you want to speak to a normal person. The other subjects’ vocabulary prepares you for your conversations with specialized people, but ELA doesn’t do that. Your goal is to brainwash others or at least inform them of your ideologies, not prove that you’re smart to them by confusing them.

See source and revision history on GitHub.