Multilingual Debate Glossary
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Overview and Purpose
Most activities have a special vocabulary that one needs to learn in order to succeed. Think of all the words one needs to learn to understand football - goal, corner kick midfielder, ect. Having mastered the basics, s/he would then need to learn more in-depth strategic vocabulary. Debate is no different, so this glossary is designed as a resource for those learning English debate. If a debater does not know a term, s/he can come here, find the English word, definition, and translation of that word into a host of different languages. If your language(s) is not represented, help your fellow debaters out by adding your translation of the term. Do this by telling us which language you are using and then the translation of the term.
The following is an example:
An argument that supports associations between things based on their similarity or dissimilarity.
- Spanish: Analogía
- French: Analogie
- Korean: 유례
If you want to add new terms, feel free. If you see a term that has already been translated, but you think it is an inaccurate translation or there is another translation that your local debate community uses, feel free to add your own and/or start a discussion on the Discussion tab at the top of this page.
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The part of the affirmative case about policies that demonstrates the positive effects of the affirmative’s plan.
A fallacy of language that occurs when a word in an argument has two or more possible meanings and the listener has no means to determine adequately which meaning the arguer intends.
An argument that supports associations between things based on their similarity or dissimilarity.
- Czech: Analogie
- German: Die Analogie
Appeal to fear
Appeal to ignorance
Appeal to ignorance is based on the assumption that whatever has not been proven false must be true (or whatever has not been proven true must be false).
Appeal to popularity
A fallacious argument that occurs when a debater uses the popularity of a person, product, or belief to justify a favorable conclusion about that person, product, or belief.
Appeal to tradition
A fallacious argument made when a debater argues in favor of a particular action on the grounds of tradition rather than on the basis of that action’s merits.
A controversial statement, frequently called a claim, supported by evidence and a warrant. The standards of a logically good argument include acceptability, relevance, and sufficiency. See also Standard of acceptability, Standard of relevance, standard of sufficiency.
- Czech: Argument
- German: Das Argument
The uniquely human use of reasoning to communicate.
- Czech: Argumentace
- German: Die Argumentation
Argument ad hominem
- Czech: Argument ad hominem
Argument by example
An argument that supports an association between specific examples and a general rule.
- Czech: Argument postavený na příkladu
Argument by incompatibility
An argument designed to reject something because it is incompatible with something else.
Argument by principle
Argument from authority
An argument that tempts us to agree with the writer's assumptions based on the authority or a famous person or entity.
A community within which arguments are made.
The way evidence and warrants are arranged to support a claim. See also Convergent argument structure; Independent argument structure; Simple argument structure.
- Czech: Struktura argumentu/argumentace
The organization of arguments in a speech.
- Czech: Struktura
An argument that supports a claim with the opinion of experts in the field.
- Czech: Ballot
Bandwagon appeal encourages the listener to agree with a statement because everybody else does.
Begging the question
A fallacy of acceptability that occurs when a debater introduces evidence that is the same as the claim.
Making a general and total prohibition of an action or activity formerly allowed because it is shown to be harmful.
Burden of Proof
- Czech: Důkazní břemeno/Břemeno důkazu
One or more arguments sufficient to support a proposition.
- Czech: Case, argumentace
A case shift occurs when a team alters or changes their stand or proposal from one speaker to the next. This usually happens when the opposing team points out a flaw in the proposal and pressures the following speaker to either drop, expand, or modify the proposal. It can also occur when the speakers of the same team are not clear about the parameters of their own proposal.
Case split/Case division
- Czech: Rozdělení argumentace
An argument that supports associations between causes and effects. See also Contributory causal argument; Intervening and counteracting causal argument; Necessary causal argument; Sufficient causal argument.
A proposition that asserts that one object causes a specific outcome.
The type of reasoning that examines the reasons certain actions, events, or conditions (causes) create specific consequences (effects).
- Czech: Tvrzení
- German: Die Behauptung
Comparative advantages case
A method used for developing a case about policies that advocates the adoption of the plan based on its advantages compared with the status quo or some other policy.
Comparative policy proposition
Compares two or more policies.
Comparative value proposition
Compares two or more objects with respect to some value.
A speech that presents a debater’s basic arguments for or against the resolution.
- Czech: Konstruktivní řeč
Contributory causal argument
An argument that states that the purported cause is one of several contributors to the effect.
Convergent argument structure
Two or more bits of evidence that, in combination with one another, support a claim.
An argument raised by an opposing team to directly refute a previous argument.
- Czech: Protiargument
A plan proposed by the negative team as an alternative to the affirmative plan.
- Czech: Protiplán
- Czech: Křížové otázky
The process of arguing about claims in situations where an adjudicator must decide the outcome.
- Czech: Debata
- German: Die Debatte
A certain meaning applied to a thing or category of things.
- Czech: Definice
- German: Die Definition/Die Begriffsbestimmung
- Czech: Napadení definic(e)
- Czech: Dekriminalizace
An argument that creates new categories by dividing an old category into two new ones.
Different types of information (facts, statistics, theories, opinions, or narratives) that are used to support arguments. Evidence can be divided into two categories: that relating to reality (facts, theories, and presumptions) and that relating to preference (values, value hierarchies, and value categories). See also Facts; Presumption; Theory; Value; Value categories; Value hierarchy.
- Czech: Důkaz(y)
- German: Der Beweis
Observed or observable data.
- Czech: Fakta, skutečnosti, důkazy
An argument that fails to meet any one of the standards of acceptability, relevance, and sufficiency. See also Argument ad hominem; Ambiguity; Appeal to fear; Appeal to popularity; Appeal to tradition; Begging the question; Equivocation; Fallacy of composition; Fallacy of division; Fallacy of incompatibility; Faulty analogy; Hasty conclusion; Improper appeal to practice; Loaded term; Poisoning the well; Post hoc fallacy; Problematic premise; Red herring; Slippery slope argument; Straw person fallacy; Two wrongs fallacy; Vagueness.
Fallacy of composition
A fallacious argument where the evidence is drawn from some part of a whole but the conclusion is about the whole.
Fallacy of division
An erroneous argument where the evidence is drawn from the whole, but the conclusion is made about the part.
Fallacy of incompatibility
False dichotomy consists of a consideration of only the two extremes when there are more intermediate possibilities.
- Czech: Chybná analogie
Faulty causality refers to the setting up of a cause-and-effect relationship when none exists.
The "product" of note-taking during a debate. See Flow.
- Czech: Sittův proudový diagram/Zápis z debaty/Flowsheet
Guilt by association
A fallacious argument that occurs when a person’s argument is attacked using that person’s association with groups and people rather than using issues pertinent to the argument.
- Czech: Unáhlený závěr
- Czech: Unáhlené zobecnění
Independent argument structure
Several pieces of evidence, any one of which can provide sufficient support for a claim.
Debating that occurs between representatives of different countries, nations, or cultures.
- Czech: Debatování na mezinárodní úrovni
Intervening and counteracting causal argument
An argument that demonstrates a cause that prevents the completion of a cause-and-effect sequence.
An argument that fails to meet the relevance criterion. It includes ad hominem argument, appeal to fear, appeal to popularity, appeal to tradition, guilt by association, poisoning the well, red herring, and straw person.
- Czech: Rozhodčí
Karl Popper debate format
- Czech: Formát debaty Karl Popper
A fallacy of language that occurs when the arguer labels something with a word that includes an evaluation and that evaluation plays a role in supporting the conclusion.
A mechanism outlines the methods or action-plans to be implemented in a proposal to ensure the objectives or burden of proof is fulfilled. Mechanisms are only required for policy debates. A good mechanism must be logically sound and feasible within the context of the debate to be acceptible by adjudicators. For example, naming logging as a way to generate income for Antartica is logically unsound since Antartica is not known to have expansive woodlands for logging.
Method of agreement
A method of reasoning used in cause-and-effect analysis that examines more than one case where two elements are simultaneously present, concluding that one is the cause of the other.
Method of correlation
A method of reasoning used in cause-and-effect analysis that examines examples that demonstrate that as the amount of the cause increases (or decreases), the effect will also increase (or decrease).
Method of difference
A method of reasoning used in cause-and-effect analysis that examines examples wherein both the purported cause and the purported effect are absent, concluding that one is the cause of the other.
A strategy the negative uses to defend the present system with minor changes.
A model is the framework of an action-plan. It can also be used to refer to existing examples of policies and their manner of implementation. E.g. the Oklahoma model of privatization of secondary education through distribution of education coupons to students.
- Czech: Neslučitelné, vzájemně se vylučující
Necessary causal argument
An argument that states that without the suspected cause, the effect cannot occur, thus the cause is necessary to produce the effect.
The part of the affirmative case about policies that identifies a certain problem in the status quo that the existing system cannot solve.
Non Sequitur argument
This term comes from Latin, meaning "Doesn't follow". A non sequitur is a statement that does not relate logically to what came before it.
- Czech: Plán
- German: Der Plan
Points of information (POIs)
Allow an opposite team member to offer a brief point during the current speech. Used in Worlds Schools Style and British Parliamentary Style debates.
- Czech: Faktické poznámky
Poisoning the well
Post hoc fallacy
- Czech: Přípravný čas/Čas na přípravu
- German: Die Vorbereitzeit
The assumption that current policies will be maintained until someone makes a case that another policy is a better option.
A statement concerning what people ordinarily expect to happen in the course of normal events.
A fallacious argument that fails to meet the acceptability criterion. It includes begging the question and the fallacy of incompatibility.
A final claim made by a debater and supported by a combination of claims.
Proposition of definition
Asserts that a certain definition should be applied to a certain category of things.
Proposition of description
Asserts a proper way to describe an object or a number of objects.
Proposition of evaluation
Attaches a value to any object.
Proposition of relationship
Assert a certain relationship between objects.
Proposition of similarity
Asserts that two objects are similar to each other.
The process used to connect evidence to the claim. See also warrant.
The speeches in the debate that challenge and defend arguments introduced in the constructive speeches.
A fallacious argument that shifts the focus from the original argument.
The process of attacking and defending arguments.
- Czech: Refutace
The process of locating and selecting evidence in preparation for debate.
- German: Die Forschung
- Czech: Výhrada, výjimka
An argument used to frighten the listeners into agreeing with the speaker (usually without a logical argument to support the claim).
An attempt to appeal to the hearts of listeners so that they forget to use their minds.
Simple argument structure
A single claim leading from a single piece of evidence following along a single warrant.
Simple policy proposition
A proposition that urges adoption of a certain policy.
Simple value proposition
Attaches a value to a single object.
Slippery slope argument
An argument that connects a series of events in a causal chain that ultimately leads to disaster or calamity. Slippery slope arguments are fallacies if the series of events is improperly connected. A 'slippery slope' is otherwise a catchier term for 'negative precedent'. Debaters use the 'slippery slope' argument to project the worst-case scenario of taking a particular stand or following a certain course of action.
Standard of acceptability
Determines whether the evidence is acceptable to those who judge the argument.
Standard of relevance
Determines whether the evidence is relevant to the claim it supports.
Standard of sufficiency
Determines whether all of the evidence taken as a whole is sufficient to support the claim.
Standards of a logically good argument
Standards are acceptability, relevance, and sufficiency.
A system devised to determine the key issues of clash in a topic. These key issues can be used to develop a system of research.
The course of action currently pursued (i.e., the present system).
- Czech: Stávající stav, status quo
Straw person fallacy
Occurs when an arguer, intentionally or unintentionally, misinterprets an opponent’s argument, then proceeds to refute the misinterpreted argument as if it were the opponent’s actual argument.
The use of language, voice, and body language used by a debater.
- Czech: Styl
Sufficient causal argument
An argument that states that the presence of a cause virtually guarantees (is sufficient for) the presence of the effect.
- Czech: Tautologický argument
Teamline is a concept, a basic statement the team in a particular debate uses (Proposition: "why the motion is correct/true", Opposition: "why the motion is incorrect/not true"). It is supposed to be a short sentence that every member of the team says during his/her speech (=enforcing the idea of teamwork).
- Czech: Týmová linie
A statement that explains other facts or that predicts the occurrence of events.
- Czech: Teorie
- German: Theorie
Time-place set up
Defining a motion to contextualize the debate only for a specific time or a specific place (that is otherwise not relevant historically or currently) because the side happens to have expert knowledge of that time and place. For example, choosing to set a debate in Inner Mongolia for the year 1950 without the motion being generally known to relate to Inner Mongolia in the year 1950.
Toulmin Model of argument
A model of argument developed by philosopher Stephen Toulmin. The basic model includes evidence, warrant, claim, and reservation.
A debater makes a trend analysis by illustrating an established pattern to support a logical deduction or project an outcome.
Truism (or Truistic)
- Czech: Truismus
Two wrongs fallacy
Occurs when a debater makes an argument urging the audience to accept, or condone, one thing that is wrong because another similar thing, also wrong, has been accepted and condoned.
- Czech: Vágnost, nejasnost
Evidence based on the audience’s preferred value.
A case supporting a proposition of value. Three principal elements of such a case are describing, relating, and evaluating.
Value categories (evidence)
An arrangement of values into groups so that a group (category) can be used as evidence.
Value hierarchy (evidence)
Evidence based on how values are arranged in relation to each other.
Stated or unstated reasoning process that explains the relationship between the evidence and the claim.