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English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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1.3 Use of specialist words in everyday life

A key part of any writing style is choice of vocabulary. It is common to use specialist vocabulary in the workplace when it is necessary to describe specific situations and objects. The same applies when people talk about shared hobbies and interests and often use a great deal of specialist language.

If you have a hobby or special interest, you may regularly use specialist words that may only be understood by people who share your interest. For example, I have recently read a sports magazine that refers to football players using specialist terms I do not fully understand, such as midfielder, sweeper and winger.

Activity 3

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Do you have a hobby or an interest that you discuss with other people using specialist or technical language? Do you ever read a specialist magazine or website about your hobby or talk about it with other people? Think of some examples of words or phrases you might use.Write some notes in the box below and then compare your answers to mine.

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The answer is personal to you, but you might like to read my example. I have recently come across some written instructions my daughter has used to knit a scarf.

Image of a close-up of a knitted scarf showing the single rib stitch
Figure 3 Single rib stitch

The single rib stitch is created with K1, P1 across the work on the right side. If you started with an even number of stitches, you will K1, P1 on the wrong side row too.

(Keep on Knitting, 2014)

While I consider these very complex instructions, my daughter seems to have no problem following them despite having only recently learned to knit. She uses some of this language when talking about her knitting with friends who have the same hobby and have helped her to get started.

Specialist language, symbols and language structures are often used by groups of people who have a common interest and purpose for communicating. This common language allows them to understand each other when referring to topics that are very specific to their field or their interests. While it may be difficult to start with, those who are new to the field are gradually introduced to this style by more expert friends and colleagues.