Antennae vs. antennas

Phil Schappert philjs at
Fri Oct 23 09:38:22 EDT 1998

On 21 Oct 1998 22:09:29 -0700, lday at (Liz Day) wrote
(following remarks by ae779 at (Pierre A Plauzoles):
>> A good teacher will know how to teach all three and yet not allienate 
>> that "third" group.  I think that Phil's attitude (that dumbing down is 
>> inherently bad) is right.  
>I agree - but I don't see a preference for non-technical language as
>dumbing down.  In fact I see that term as a bit insulting myself...  I
>see it as a sign of good, clear speech or writing, the way I would talk to
>almost any group of adults (except those professionally versed in the
>particular topic). 

I already regret coining "dumbing down" and agree that it is
insulting. My apologies to all. Perhaps I should have said

I've no objection to non-technical language - I use it everyday - my
objections to Mr. Glassberg's editorial have little, as I've already
said, to do with terminology. Non-technical terminology is a valuable
teaching tool but my feeling is that oversimplification (e.g. tongue
versus proboscis or "straw") is counterproductive.

>However, a friend on this list said that one needs to use a different
>presentation approach with different audiences, rather than change the

Exactly. Gauge the presentation and its complexity to the particular
audience. I'd STILL never use "tongue", though <grin>!


Dr. Phil Schappert
Zoology, University of Texas
Austin, TX 78712-1064
Office: 512-471-8240; Fax: 512-471-9651
Stengl - Lost Pines Biological Station: 512-237-3864
mailto:philjs at

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