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Speaking American: A History of English in the United States

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Language, Literacy, and Technology

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Academic Paper


Title: ‘Quality’ problems
Author: Brian Poole
Linguistic Field: Semantics
Abstract: How the polysemous nature of the word quality can cause problems for readers of articles on quality assurance in higher education. Scholarly literature on quality assurance in higher education will always run the risk of confusing or repelling non-specialist readers. That is inevitable since, by its nature, such literature often uses technical jargon in dealing with abstract concepts. Yet, a further and more fundamental problem exists, one that may not always be recognized by writers in the field: namely, that the word quality itself has different senses, combines with other words, with unusual semantic effects, and can function both as a noun and an adjective. These factors combine to increase the possibility that general readers may misconstrue key points in texts about quality.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Today Vol. 21, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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