Specialized Terminology

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Learn how to identify and acquire specialized terminology for specific subjects and disciplines.

0:00 Owl: Welcome to Specialized Terminology, an instructional video on reading comprehension brought to you by the Excelsior University Online Writing Lab.
0:12 Every subject and discipline has its own unique vocabulary or set of words for talking about its topics.
0:18 We call this specialized terminology.
0:22 For instance, in the subject of anatomy and physiology, one set of specialized terminology has to do with the directional terms for locations on the body.
0:30 By using this specialized terminology, medical practitioners and students can have a common language for talking about locations on the body.
0:38 Hence, specialized terminology is useful because it provides an effective way to communicate information within a particular field of study.
0:46 It’s always a good idea to look up the definition of specialized terminology.
0:50 Since textbooks are full of specialized terminology, they usually provide definitions either in the body of the text or in a glossary of key terms.
1:00 For other kinds of text, you should consult a dictionary whenever you encounter a term you don’t recognize.
1:05 For instance, the word “id” is a specialized term used in psychology.
1:10 The id is the part of the mind in which innate instinctive impulses and primary processes are manifest.
1:17 Once you find the definition, it’s a good idea to try out the new word in a sentence:
1:21 It’s very likely that the prevalence of zombies in pop culture is an expression of fear and anxiety originating from our collective id.
1:30 This will help you to understand and remember it better.
1:34 Finally, it’s also a good idea to keep track of all the specialized terminology for a specific course, subject, or discipline by creating a Terminology Chart.
1:44 A terminology chart has three sections:
1:48 a section for new terminology;
1:50 a section for word parts commonly found in the new terminology, which will help you to identify patterns;
1:56 and a section for frequently used acronyms.
2:00 An acronym is an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words.
2:05 For example, let’s say you’re taking a course on American Government.
2:09 Your terminology chart might have the following items under new terminology; prefixes, roots, and suffixes; and acronyms.
Displayed on screen See Terminology Chart below the transcript
2:21 With a terminology chart, you can master specialized terminology for your courses.
2:25 This will help you do better on exams and papers!
2:31 Thanks for listening to this instructional video on Specialized Terminology!
2:36 Visit the Excelsior University Online Writing Lab for more support with reading and writing skills.


Terminology Chart
New Terminology
Executive Branch

Legislative Branch

Judicial Branch

The branch of the government charged with the execution and enforcement of laws and policies and the administration of public affairs

The branch of the government having the power to make laws

The branch of government charged with the interpretation of laws and the administration of justice

Prefixes, Roots, & Suffixes





with, jointly


















relating to




FDA    Food and Drug Administration

EPA     Environmental Protection Agency

DOD    Department of Defense

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The following text was sampled in this video:

OpenStax College, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax College. 25 April 2013. http://cnx.org/content/col11496/latest/.

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