Educational language refers to a type of language used in the context of educational institutions or in books. This is also referred to as a linguistic register. Educational language is characterised by a high degree of precision and abstractness. The aim is to convey information with a high level of content.
The language taught in education did not always correspond to the learners’ mother tongue. In ancient times, for example, Greek was considered the general language of education. In Western Europe, knowledge was taught in Latin. In the Arab world and beyond, Arabic provided access to education.
Purpose of educational language
In a school context, educational language is considered the key to learning success. Educational language skills are an important basis for subject-related learning and action. It has the function of conveying specialised knowledge in a precise and sophisticated way. Essentially, the concept of educational language refers to linguistic processes such as describing, explaining, analysing and comparing facts.
Characteristics of educational language
Educational language goes far beyond everyday language use. It follows the rules of written language, even when spoken. The abstractness of expression, the precise vocabulary and complex grammatical structures are striking. Educational language is also defined as “high” and “pure” language.
The discursive features of educational language concern the frame of events, i.e. the direct reference to a specific situation. Examples include the logical structure, objectivity or precision of the formulations.
The grammatical features refer to sentence structure and expressions in educational language. Examples of the complex structures include long main and subordinate clauses, nominalisations and passive constructions.
Lexical features refer to vocabulary and word formation. Technical terms, prefix verbs and differentiating terms are examples typical of educational language.
Examples of educational language
If you are looking for examples of educational language to refresh your vocabulary or impress those around you, you will find them here: appropriate for suitable, agile for manoeuvrable or nimble, meticulous for highly precise, apathetic for indifferent, banal for nothing special or commonplace, generous for big-hearted, heterogeneous for non-uniform, homogeneous for uniform or evenly constituted, contrary for opposite or opposing, pecuniary for financial, traditional for handed down and vehement for fierce or turbulent.
Educational language, technical language and everyday language
To clarify the meaning of educational language, it is useful to consider the differences between educational language, technical language and everyday language. Educational language differs from technical language in that it is fundamentally accessible to all learners and serves as a basis for the acquisition of specialist knowledge at school. Technical language is the language applicable to a specific subject area, which differs from everyday language primarily through the use of technical terms. Everyday language means the everyday use of language.
FAQ: More questions on educational language
What is meant by educational language?
Educational language refers to a linguistic register that is used primarily in educational contexts, but also in sophisticated texts and publications.
Why is educational language important?
It has been scientifically proven that there is a connection between educational language and school success. According to the PISA study, students can internalise content much better if they have a certain basic level of educational language skills.
What is the difference between educational language and everyday language?
Colloquial or everyday language refers to the language used in everyday life, which is usually oral. Educational language, on the other hand, is mostly used to convey knowledge or skills and tends to be found in educational institutions or written publications.
What is the difference between educational language and technical language?
Educational language is to be seen as interdisciplinary, whereas technical language is limited to a specific field of knowledge.
What are educational language words?
Educational language words are words used in educational language. One example is the term “eloquent”, which describes particularly articulate people.
What are educational language features?
Precision, abstractness and complex grammatical structures are probably the most important characteristics of educational language.
When is something educational and when is it not?
There are terms that are only used in educational language in a specific context. An example of this is “operation”, which in educational language stands for a planned action. If, on the other hand, one is talking about a medical intervention, the term “operation” does not directly belong to the language of education.
How do you learn educational language?
You learn educational language above all when you enter an educational language environment: It is thus always helpful to read newspapers and specialised literature or watch videos and films in which elevated language is used. Terms that are initially unfamiliar should be looked up in a dictionary and noted down if interested.
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