In this 2AC I’m just going to be going down the flow addressing neg’s contentions and doing some impact calculus, showing you why their links and brinks are weak, and refuting their two solvency and inherency points. But first, I’m going to clean my mouth out with soap because that was really awful.
No one wants to sound like that, yet some people get pretty close.
If you’re a novice, bless God in heaven that you are reading this now before you get used to debate lingo! Now is your chance to set good habits for the future. If you’re intermediate/advanced and you still use debate lingo, there is hope for you.
If you’re intermediate/advanced and you already got rid of debate lingo, you’re mostly reading this post because it makes you feel smug and proud of yourself. Now go read something that applies to you.
Why not to use debate lingo
I think this is pretty much common sense, but most judges you will encounter do not know the jargon of debate. And debate jargon is sometimes very difficult to decipher. What on earth is a stock issue? I still hate the term.
If your judge is confused, you will probably not win. Sure, using jargon might make you seem smart, but it’s more important for your judge to understand you.
This goes for parent judges as well. Even the ones that say they know jargon. The reason why is because many parent judges “know” these terms, but they haven’t used them personally or practiced with them consistently. That means it still takes a conscious effort for them to remember what the word means, and any extra effort on their part is not a good thing.
The only time it is good to use debate lingo is if your judge is an alumni who specifically asks for it, or someone from a debate league like NFL (National Forensics League, a public school debate league). I once ran a multi-actor fiat argument without saying the words multi-actor fiat, and the alum judging us literally wrote on the ballot he would have voted for us if I had said that term.
Explaining the jargon is a bad solution as well. This still takes effort from the judge to learn these new terms and understand them throughout the round. They will probably forget.
Replacements for common debate words
|Inherency||- How things are, current system, etc.|
|Solvency||- Whether they solve the problem, effective solution|
|Topicality||- Whether the affirmative team is on topic|
|Significance||- This is self-explanatory enough|
|Stock issues||- Just don't say this, or use stock issues as a framework unless the judge asks for it|
|Disadvantage||- Negative consequence, BAD THING, negative result, negative outcome|
|Link||- Just explain the disadvantage conversationally. EG. "The plan causes this negative result because...."|
|Brink||- "Here's why it wouldn't happen without the affirmative plan"|
|Impact||- "This is why it matters" "This is the main negative effect"|
|Podium||- It's actually a lectern, get it right|
|Point/Argument||- This is actually a decent word to use for it, I'd leave it as is. (Also use the word response)|
|Subpoint||- If you use subpoints, make sure you go slowly and make it very clear and organized.|
|A priori||- This is a word you can use if you explain it, since it makes you look smart and you won't use it often.|
|Piece of evidence||- Evidence/Quote (Piece of evidence sounds weird)|
|1AC||- First speech|
|1NC-2AR||- Don't mention these speeches by name, maybe say "in [insert name]'s last/first speech"|
|Kritik||- Don't mention this argument by name, just use it as a regular point and explain why it matters|
|Extend||- I'd like to bring this argument back, discuss this argument again, remind you of this argument|
|Resolution||- Our topic for this year|
|CX||- Cross-examination as a concept is fairly widely recognized|
|Case||- Idea, plan, proposal|
|Plan||- Solution, proposal|
|Mandate||- Course of action|
|Advantages||- This word is pretty much fine to use, although you could say benefits or another synonym|
|Negative team||- This term is fine but you can refer to them as "our opponents" as well|
|Affirmative team||- This term is fine but you can refer to them as "our opponents" as well|
|Constructives||- Explain to the judge that the first four speeches are "constructive" speeches in which arguments are started|
|Rebuttals||- Explain to the judge that the last four speeches are for rebutting arguments, not creating new ones|
|Spike||- Preempt an argument|
|Criterion||- Awful word. Say something like "the goal for this round". But usually avoid criteria anyway.|
|Judging philosophy||- Past experience, expectations for the round, background knowledge|
|Prep time||- Don't say something stuffy like preparational time, prep time is good enough.|
|Tag||- Don't say tag|
|Non-unique||- Say "this argument is not unique. What that means is...."|
|Dropped argument||- This argument was not addressed by [x] in [x] speech.|
|Voting issue||- The most important points that the round boils down to, these are the main reasons to vote neg/aff|
|Parametrics||- Just because you know this term doesn't mean you should throw it out there. Explain it without naming it.|
|Status Quo||- Current system (also overused). How things are right now. The current state of affairs.|
As usual, this is just a helpful tool if you’re having trouble coming up with an explanation or replacement term. If you don’t like any of these, just come up with your own version! You can also help me improve this list by commenting with any additional terms I didn’t cover, or with better replacement ideas.
Is it worth it?
Yes, it is.
It’s not going to be easy to cleanse these words from your debate vocabulary if you’ve grown accustomed to them, but it is definitely worth it. I got several comments, even from parent judges who supposedly knew jargon, that it was nice that I kept things simple and didn’t use debate words.
This is not going to be mentioned on tons of ballots like some of my other tips, simply because when judges don’t hear you say any lingo they forget the lingo even exists, but I know that using jargon does make it harder for you to connect with the judge.
While you’re making the transition in your speaking, here is a helpful tip: if you accidentally slip the debate jargon version of a word, say “[debate jargon] or [synonym/explanation of it]”. So if I said “harms” accidentally, I would just add “or problems with the way things are” to make sure I don’t lose the judge. It’s a good way to correct yourself if you make a mistake without sounding like you are correcting yourself.
Debate lingo/jargon is highly valued in leagues like the National Forensics League or in most forms of college debate. But if you’re in a public forum debate style, or Stoa/NCFCA, it will only slow you down.
Send this link to debate friends—it contains the full, updated chart of common debate lingo and suitable replacements.