Happy November everyone,

I am so glad you are here!  Ready for a little ELD conversation?  
Let’s get started.

Here is the question:
ACADEMIC LANGUAGE versus  Academic Vocabulary are these 2 terms the same or different?

Have you noticed that these terms are often used interchangeably?  To understand the differences between these two words let’s take an in-depth look at the precise meaning of each word. 

Delving into these 2 terms it becomes apparent that the overarching concept is ACADEMIC LANGUAGE.


the specialized language of academic discourse and textbooks.

Many researches insist that proficiency in ACADEMIC LANGUAGE is the most important predictor of academic success for individual students. Students must learn the many skills that are interwoven into the notion of ACADEMIC LANGUAGE

Academic Vocabulary is an important component, it is only one cog on the wheel we call ACADEMIC LANGUAGE.  

ACADEMIC LANGUAGE is a complex concept and requires teaching students: 
     the phonological features of English
     academic vocabulary and word formation rules (Lexical knowledge)

Here is a little more detail on each of these important areas:

     Phonological Features include the sound patterns and intonation of English.

     Vocabulary and Word Formation includes teaching: 
            o prefixes, suffixes and roots
            o tier 1, 2, and 3 words (here is where academic vocabulary comes in)
            o parts of speech
            o multiple meanings of words 
            o the grammar rules that apply to word formation and usage.

     Grammar comprises: 
            o the correct use, rules, and understanding of the parts of speech
            o word classes
            o inflections
            o increasing word complexity
            o understanding complex sentence structures
            o syntax

     Discourse entails: 
            o the ability to use words 
            o to organize knowledge 
            o to exchange ideas

     Cognition encompasses: 
            o the mental action of:

As you can see Academic Vocabulary is just a small part of the intricate concept of ACADEMIC LANGUAGE.

These two words should NOT be used interchangeably. 

 Click here for a graphic that helps organize the components of ACADEMIC LANGUAGE.

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