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One term=many definitions=confusion

In the Journal of Speech Pathology (Australia, 228), an expert familiar with the confusion that follows when several definitions are ascribed to one term, writes: "Terminology presents a major challenge to the field of speech pathology. The terminology in our field has been described as inconsistent, variable, inadequate, a mess, in a state of chaos and a bottleneck. One term may have several different meanings, while several terms can be used with the same meaning. Think of the enormous range of terms to describe children’s language problems: language disorder, language impairment, language delay, specific language impairment, etc. Many authors have developed definitions of key terms, but these also vary. This inconsistency leaves us in a quandary." 

The same can easily be said about the Science of Reading. What's the difference, for example, between phonemic awareness and phonemic analysis, or phonology and phonetics? It's hard to be precise when experts use these terms interchangeably; and that's just the proverbial "tip of the iceberg." 

The Science of Reading doesn't need any more promotion: it needs clarification. Simplicity is the key to sustainability. If professional development increases the burden of jargon on teachers, The Science of Reading will eventually collapse under the suffocating weight of its heady terminology.


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