Mucous. Feces. Urine. Flatulence. Purulent.
All of these words are the technical names for words that we use in our everyday speech in a colloquial way.
Most of us know this. Most of us know that the colloquialisms we use in place of these words aren’t the actual or technical terms for these things. Most of know that if we were in a classroom or seminar where any of these things were broached (another word for brought up), they’d likely not be referred to by their colloquial names, but by their technical names.
So, you can imagine my befuddlement (that’s another word for confusion) when I came across the following graphic (that’s another word for picture) on my Facebook timeline.
I clawed (another word for scratch) my tegument (another word for scalp) and wondered if we are really at the point now where academic language in an academic textbook used in an academic setting is “pretentious” and “inaccessible.”
Let’s start with pretentious. No. It’s an ACADEMIC textbook. Those of us who know about code-switching understand that you don’t present yourself the same way in all settings. When you go in for an interview, you shake the interviewer’s hand, you don’t hug them or fist bump them.
In a book on language arts, you aren’t going to get, “Timmy was chillaxin’ on the block with his homies when his mama told him to bring his narrow behind inside.”
Sure, that may be how the writer of the textbook speaks when he or she is at home around their friends and family but since the purpose of a language arts textbook is to apprise (another word for inform) the reader of standard English grammar, the writer instead offers, “Timmy was relaxing with his friends outside of his house, when his mother angrily demanded that he come back inside.”
Pretentious would be me talking to my friend and telling her that I was clawing my tegument.
Inaccessible? Well, I don’t think it’s an unfair assumption that if you end up in college-level physiology, you have an above-average reading and comprehension level. Further, we live in an era that has thesaurus.com and dictionary.com and both are accessible, literally at your fingertips.
We are fortunate enough to live in an era where you can Google almost anything and before you can blink your eyes twice, 92387877499937489 results of varying degrees on the topic you Googled will populate before your eyes.
Does that makeup for systemic inequalities in education? No. But let’s not overplay this thing either. If you need information, you can find it for free these days.
Now, here’s the part that I’m known for: shade.
I will never not laugh at this generation who will engage in days-long debates with strangers over -ist, -phobic, gender, agender, sex, asexual, demisexual, pre-sexual, post-sexual, he, she, ze, thee, thou, fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, tall privilege, short privilege, etc…
but want to boo-hoo and tee-hee because an ACADEMIC textbook uses ACADEMIC words to explain ACADEMIC concepts (another word for thought or idea).
How sway? Just like you found a resource to convince you that men can have periods and babies, you can figure out what that word you’re not familiar with means.
Matter of fact, in the time it took you to read and (somehow) agree with that pitiful tweet, you could have looked up what you didn’t understand in your textbook…or, you know, asked someone.