IELTS VOCABULARY

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Video Vocabulary during debate

When debaters are equally matched in argumentation and refutation, sometimes a speaker’s style can be the tiebreaker. Using powerful language is one of the ways to improve your style. Many debaters who are in intermediate and open, can now talk confidently and smoothly without as many filler words. However, language is another area where those debaters can improve their style winning them points with judges, and making it easier for them to win.

There are three categories of words that are key in debate rounds:

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  1. Persuasive Words

    Persuasive words are the easiest of the three to incorporate into your style. Simply expanding your vocabulary will assist you in any round, but there are times when it is critical to move your judges. The goal of persuasive language is to move someone past what your argument would have done naturally. This is most effective, in rounds that are discussing individuals. When you are in those rounds, there should always be a discussion about the impacts to the individual. When you are impacting, the goal is to show accurate outcomes for that person, but make them seem important. Read the following sentences and see which one you find most persuasive.

    It is important that there are special washrooms for gender non-conforming students in schools so that they do not face discrimination.

    It is critical that we have an accepting, and safe environment for gender non-conforming students so that schools can become a secure place to learn for everyone to learn.

    Those two sentences are roughly the same length, but one is far more persuasive than the other. The second sentence has words and phrases that build audience connection. All parents and judges want students to feel accepted and learn, so using these words helps them relate to and have compassion for whatever student you are discussing.

  2. Loaded Words

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    Loaded words can be useful in almost every debate, especially with experienced judges. Loaded words, is a concept used to describe words that have a lot of meaning associated with them. These words allow people to fill in analysis for you.

    What does that mean?

    Sometimes you don’t have enough time to say everything you want to. There may be a complex piece of economic analysis, or a principle in law that is difficult to explain. Loaded words allow judges to remember those things, without you having to explain each piece fully. The loaded words you use will depend on the specific round you are in, so doing lots of reading before a tournament can be extremely helpful.

    Examples of loaded words and phrases: global warming, glass ceiling, and poverty cycle

  3. Debate Words

    Especially in higher levels of debate, debaters will use words or phrases that can be confusing to those who haven’t encountered them. Here are some important debater words, and appropriate times to use them.

    Analysis

    Analysis is a word used to describe the ideas that prove your point. When you have complex ideas in LEET for example, that is analysis. Analysis is a good word to use instead of points, or arguments.

    For example, instead of saying: we gave you a lot of different reasons as to why there would be war, you could say: our analysis demonstrated why there would be war. It makes it sound more professional, and it allows you to say more with fewer words.

    Nuance

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    Nuance means very detailed analysis. It can also be used to refer to parts of your analysis that are super specific to either the resolution or a specific actor. It implies elegance or sophistication in your argument.

    An area where debaters commonly use the word nuance is when rebuilding. They might say something like: my opponents didn’t deal with the nuance of our arguments… which just means that they are saying you didn’t deal with all the parts of their argument, or the full analysis.

    False Dichotomy

    False Dichotomy is a word that means “false choice”. Your opponents try to paint you into a corner by giving you two choices, when there are many more than two. Saying so, in your clash, helps your judges realize that your opponents weren’t giving you a fair choice or an accurate characterization.

    Slippery Slope

    Slippery slope is a term that is used to describe analysis that is unrealistic.

    For example: When we allow seals to eat as much fish as they want, we will have no more fish, which will cause all other ocean species to die out, resulting in a world famine.

    That is clearly unreasonable analysis, and could be described as a slippery slope. Not all slippery slopes need to be that ridiculous, but if it seems unlikely to occur, and they don’t give you sufficient analysis, then slippery slope is a good word to use in clash.

    Claim

    A “claim”, is debate lingo for something you have said in argumentation. So if you make an argument, you are making a claim about whatever your argument is centralized on.

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