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Academic Vocabulary

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Academic Vocabulary

Academic Vocabulary

Learning Objectives

In this lesson, you will focus on the following objective: Understanding academic vocabulary.

Academic Vocabulary

What Is Academic Vocabulary?

Words that are commonly used in academic texts, such as textbooks, directions, and tests, are called academic vocabulary. Learning academic vocabulary is important because these words will help you read, write, and research in many academic areas. These words will also help you succeed on standardized tests.

Different Kinds of Words

Some words are specific to certain disciplines, or areas of study.
For example, the words alliteration, foreshadowing, and metaphor pertain to literature. Other words, such as concept, structure, and theory, are used in many areas of study. The charts below show more examples of both kinds of words.

Discipline-Specific Words

Discipline Words
Math circumference, percentage, rectangle
Science mitosis, chlorophyll, genus
Social Studies confederation, federalism, antebellum

General Academic Vocabulary

process perceive
survey relevant
research interpret
indicate tradition

Multiple-Meaning Words

Many academic vocabulary words, such as economy, have more than one meaning.
The first meaning is a literal, more common definition that you may be familiar with (economy means “the thrifty or efficient use of a material resource, such as money”).
The second definition is more academic and may be unfamiliar to you (economy also means “the efficient use of a nonmaterial resource, such as language”).
These two definitions are often related. In the case of economy, the two definitions are linked by the “efficient use of a resource.”

The chart below lists additional examples of academic words with more than one meaning.

Word Definitions Relationship
select v. to choose adj. chosen because of excellence or preference Both definitions involve choosing
range n. the extent to which something varies v. to vary within specified limits Both definitions involve variation within certain limits
conduct n. a standard of personal behavior v. to lead from a position of power Both definitions involve the correct way to do something
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Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎

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