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
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An argument that supports associations between things based on their similarity or dissimilarity.
- Czech: Analogie
- German: Die Analogie
Appeal to fear
Appeal to popularity
Appeal to tradition
- 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.
Argument by incompatibility
An argument designed to reject something because it is incompatible with something else.
Argument by principle
A community within which arguments are made.
- 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
Begging the question
Making a general and total prohibition of an action or activity formerly allowed because it is shown to be harmful.
Burden of Proof
The main objective that a side aims to reach, and one that will be reached following the logic of their arguments and the evidence used to support these arguments.
- 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
A case split is the distribution of roles of the speakers of a team and their corresponding arguments. The case split is provided by the first speaker of each team as the skeleton or backbone to their proposal. An example case split given by the first speaker is, “I will be addressing the issue of.... while my Deputy will speak about...”
- Czech: Rozdělení argumentace
A proposition that asserts that one object causes a specific outcome.
- Czech: Tvrzení
- German: Die Behauptung
Comparative advantages case
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
An official objection made by the Opposition regarding the context or interpretation of the motion set by the Proposition/ Government. Depending on the format of debate, it may only acceptable on the following grounds: time-place set up, truistic set-up, squirreling or any other set up seen as grossly unfair and undebatable. After a definitional challenge, the roles of speakers, flow of debate, and scoring will differ from a normal debate. Read: Everyone gets confused.
- Czech: Napadení definic(e)
An informal allowance of an otherwise illegal activity. Retain the law but reducing the enforcement, i.e.turning a blind eye to the illegal act.
- Czech: Dekriminalizace
An argument that creates new categories by dividing an old category into two new ones.
- Czech: Důkaz(y)
- German: Der Beweis
Observed or observable data.
- Czech: Fakta, skutečnosti, důkazy
Fallacy of composition
Fallacy of division
Fallacy of incompatibility
- Czech: Chybná analogie
A style of note-taking during a debate that notates each speech into a column to make seeing rebuttals easier.
The "product" of note-taking during a debate. See Flow.
- Czech: Sittův proudový diagram/Zápis z debaty/Flowsheet
Guilt by association
- 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.
- Czech: Rozhodčí
Karl Popper debate format
- Czech: Formát debaty Karl Popper
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
Method of correlation
Method of difference
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.
When two things are mutually exclusive, it means that one cannot take place if the other were to happen. The reverse is true if two things are not mutually exclusive. Debaters often use this term to dismiss a counterproposal by the opposing team. For example, a side pushing for increased penalty to reduce wrongdoing, later to be opposed with the counterproposal of 'increased awareness and education campaigns', can defend their proposal by saying that 'increasing campaigns is not mutually exclusive to increasing penalty'.
- Czech: Neslučitelné, vzájemně se vylučující
Necessary causal argument
- 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
A statement concerning what people ordinarily expect to happen in the course of normal events.
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.
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
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.
The course of action currently pursued (i.e., the present system).
- Czech: Stávající stav, status quo
Straw person fallacy
The use of language, voice, and body language used by a debater.
- Czech: Styl
Sufficient causal argument
Asserting an argument that is factual and unrefutable as justification for one's case. For example, in a debate about defending rights to freedom of speech, a debater who provides the argument 'Freedom of speech should be protected because it is constitutional' is providing a tautological argument. Such arguments are generally unappreciated because they narrow the scope of the debate by defending things that are in place just because they are already in place.
- 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 debater makes a trend analysis by illustrating an established pattern to support a logical deduction or project an outcome.
Truism (or Truistic)
Something that is so obviously or self-evidently true that it does not need proof or argument. Defining a motion in a truistic way is to effectively make the motion self-serving and undebatable. An extreme example is to define the motion: “This House Would Not Sacrifice Humans For Science” to “This House Would Not Sacrifice Humans for Science unless it brings benefits and is completely safe”. Obviously no opposition can logically defend haphazard unsafe human sacrifice for science.
- Czech: Truismus
Two wrongs fallacy
Evidence based on the audience’s preferred value.
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.