Academic language is designed to be concise, precise and authoritative, often using unfamiliar and complex words and grammatical constructions (Graff 1999). Academic language can be a challenge to students---even sometimes blocking learning---but particularly for students of design, as the academic language in which design is written can differ from the language of design practice and industry professionals (Green 2010). Students of design need help in learning academic vocabulary and processing academic language, but they also need guidance in navigating the plethora of words and terms that are used in differing and inconsistent ways in industry, practice and theory. Design relies on language when it seeks to find a solution for human needs and wants: needs that are often expressed and understood through language. In other words, language is not only a means to deliver design education, it is also an inherent part of creating meaning in design and supporting ongoing independent learning.
Paper presented at 'Language in the disciplines: disciplinary discourses and the embedding of academic literacy skills within programs', an Academic Literacy Teaching and Research Network (ALTAR) Symposium, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia, 24 November 2010