Tuesday, July 21, 2009


"Nominalization" is both a grammatical term and a communications term. In the most simple sense, it means taking a verb or adjective and converting it into a noun. For example, the verb "move" becomes "movement" and "careless" becomes "carelessness". In linguistics, nominalization is an altogether useful thing.

In communications the concept may become more troublesome. People who study Nuero-Linguistic Programming (NLP), which involves several disciplines including linguistics and psychology point out faults with nominalization. Some things should be considered ongoing processes without quantifiable ends. Once certain actions are nominalized the next natural reaction is to attempt to define and quantify the new noun. Then, a whole set of rules and dogma grow around the defining, measuring, and quantifying. For example, "loving" becomes "love" with more emphasis on the definition and the quantifying and the qualifying (How do I love thee...) than the practice.

So perhaps I have finally become impossibly and irretrievably lost in the weeds.

What happens when you nominalize "educating" into "education"?

As long as one is living, one is learning. Those who help learning along are in the process of educating and so are often called educators. Those who are being helped in the educating process are usually called students.

But what has been the impact on both educators and students once we embrace "education"? How do we define the "end product"? What does it mean to have received an "education"?

What do we want, and how do we know when we get it?

No comments:

Post a Comment