Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

DIDACTIC

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

DIDACTIC

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:44 am

• didactic •


Pronunciation: dai-dæk-tik • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Instructive, intended to instruct, especially sententiously or dogmatically. 2. Instructive in a rigidly dogmatic way; preachy, doctrinaire.

Notes: Today's word refers to the opposite of Open Learning, the most popular examples of which are the Socratic and Montessori methods. It originally referred to teaching a rigidly defined core of base principles which later learning would expand. Didactic comes with a small but active family. The abstract noun is didacticism and the personal noun is didactician. It comes with an adverb, too: didactically.

In Play: Didactic has moved away from the meaning "instructive" toward a focus on one style of instruction, instructing dogmatically: "US films on politics tend to be didactic and preachy, the writer and director taking one side of an issue in an obvious way." Michael Moore is a US director who does nothing but didactic films.

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from (where else?) French didactique. French picked it up from Greek didaktikos "skillful at teaching", from didaktos "taught", the past participle of didaskein "teach, instruct". The prefix is made up of the initial letter of dak-, D, plus an I, a process known in linguistics as 'reduplication'. It was used to indicate the perfective aspects of Greek verbs. The root of this word is the Proto-Indo-European root dens- "to receive, accept, learn", which came to Latin as discere "to learn". Don't ask how dens- became dak-. (Jay Gilliam suggested today's Good Word in a way that is didactic in the original sense of the word.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3571
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Re: DIDACTIC

Postby MTC » Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:22 am

Fascinating ,isn't it, how the meanings of words change in response to changing social values. A word which was once respectable becomes disrespectable. As Dr. G points out (somewhat didactically) to the ancient Greeks, didaktikos meant "skillful at teaching", but to moderns "didactic" has come to mean patronizing and preachy. Pontificating from the pulpit was once popular (a pod of "p's") but now we, secular Westerners that is, value self-teaching. Autodidacts, the Montessori method, and Rogerian philosophy are "in." Of course, not everyone goes along with the shift in values and meaning. That's why we have a culture war here in the States. Maybe traditionalists will succeed in restoring "didactic" to its former authoritarian glory. Or, not.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: DIDACTIC

Postby maury » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:08 am

Thirty + years ago I met a beautiful girl and, shortly, asked her to marry me. When I told my Mother, I expected her to be delighted but her response surprised me. I cant remember her exact words but it was a version of "Lord help her!". When I expressed my disappointment in this reaction and asked her why, she said- "Because you are so didactic."

I did not know the word but when I did look it up and understood, it made quite an impression on me.

I did not marry that girl but a year or so later I met a great woman who has put up with my flaws for twenty eight short years. Perhaps I am a little less didactic than without my Mother's opinion.
maury
Junior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:48 am

Re: DIDACTIC

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:39 pm

The modern version with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson
claims, he does, to use didactic reasoning continually.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3490
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: DIDACTIC

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:29 pm

The original Sherlock Holmes was bad enough. Deliver me from the modern versions.

Luke's use of continually reminds us that we have no real present tense in English. What we call present tense is either continually present or continuously present and they are sometimes hard to distinguish. Present present is hard to get across. How did it happen that we have no real present tense in English?
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1783
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: DIDACTIC

Postby MTC » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:52 pm

Luke referred to Holmsean logic as "didactic reasoning." I wonder, however, whether he meant either "deductive," or barring that "dialectic" reasoning. What say you, Luke?
Last edited by MTC on Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: DIDACTIC

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:15 pm

"Elementary, my dear Watson," is not actually a Holmes quote (Snopes), but Doyle had him thinking that way. Deductive. Not didactic as Holmes was not one to "talk out" his conclusions. He just looked at the facts and saw much more than actual deductive reasoning could ever provide. I was never impressed, even as a lad, when I did most of my Holmes reading. Give me Poe as the originator of mystery stories.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1783
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: DIDACTIC

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:06 pm

To demonstrate didactic by being didactic, Wilkie Collins' book, the Moonstone, is considered the first modern mystery story.
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2407
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: DIDACTIC

Postby Slava » Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:01 pm

The way I understand this debate is Poe wrote the first mystery stories; Collins wrote the first mystery novel.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 4696
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Re: DIDACTIC

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:27 pm

Are mystery stories or novels different from detective stories or novels? I know Poe wrote mystery stories. I have read that Wilkie Collins' book, "The Moonstone," is a detective novel and I have read that it is a mystery novel. "The book is regarded by some as the precursor of the modern mystery novel," from Wikipedia. I have never read Collins. Should I?
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1783
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: DIDACTIC

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:39 am

Backing up to Philip's comment about the present tense in English, it's hard to know the influence of other languages on the grammar. To our minds, present tense portrays action or being at the time of the writing or speaking. Past and future likewise refer to time in relation to the present. Greek, on the other hand, doesn't include time as much as we do. The aorist is usually past, but action at a point rather than continuous. For that we have the imperfect, which means action over a period of time, or continuous action. The present may also be continuous as we usually express with compound verbs, such as "is going" and the like. The same is true in other languages, but not all.
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2407
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: DIDACTIC

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:35 pm

MTC wrote:Luke referred to Holmsean logic as "didactic reasoning." I wonder, however, whether he meant either "deductive," or barring that "dialectic" reasoning. What say you, Luke?



In a recent episode he used "didactic", but you know,
script writers and it is TV and written just to get
advertisers. Going along with the average TV viewer.......
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3490
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: DIDACTIC

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:38 pm

To really get a present tense one would have to say things like, "I am, at this instant, going shopping," or " I am eating eggs now." Even that may not do it perfectly.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1783
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: DIDACTIC

Postby Slava » Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:45 pm

Philip Hudson wrote:To really get a present tense one would have to say things like, "I am, at this instant, going shopping," or " I am eating eggs now." Even that may not do it perfectly.

Why? If I say, "I am eating eggs," that means currently, at least to me. Adding now would be superfluous.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 4696
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Re: DIDACTIC

Postby MTC » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:05 pm

There are two tenses in English describing the present: the present tense ("I walk"), and the present progressive tense ("I am walking.") The present tense indicates action that is present now relative to the speaker, the present progressive tense action that is continuing.

There appears to be no point in adding "now" to either "I walk" or "I am walking" because "now" is implied in both the present and the present progressive tense.

I hope this offering is not too didactic.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Next

Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 6 guests