Assessment is based on a series of tests, in which you will demonstrate your knowledge of Latin and Greek word forms as applied to scientific terminology, and written assignments, in which you will demonstrate your ability to engage with scientific literature. These are weighted as follows:

  • Test I (16 October): 20%
  • Test II (20 November): 20%
  • Weekly Vocabulary Assignments (due the day before each class): 5%
  • Vocabulary Analysis Paper (due 27 November): 15%
  • Final Exam (date to be announced): 40%

Assignments may be submitted in either English or French.

Tests and final exam

Two tests will be conducted, in which you will be expected to:

  • analyse scientific terms and give the meanings of their elements;
  • provide the meanings of word roots from the vocabulary list;
  • transliterate words written in the Greek alphabet into their equivalents in the Roman alphabet;
  • identify the derivation of words in passages from scientific articles;
  • provide English terms matching definitions for word roots; and
  • respond to questions on the history of scientific developments in the classical, medieval, and early modern periods that influenced the development of modern scientific nomenclature.

The vocabulary for these tests will be drawn entirely from the vocabulary list distributed to the class; the historical content for the tests will come from a combination of the lectures and the course readings. The final exam (cumulative) will combine these elements with discussions of terminology in passages from scientific articles, and short-answer questions on the historical development of scientific terminology.

Practice tests will be conducted the week before each test in order to familiarize you with the format:

Weekly vocabulary assignments

During each lecture, we will dissect the terminology of a recent peer-reviewed scientific article. Before class, look through the week’s article, posted on the Learning Portal (these are separate from the course readings) and make a list of ten words that you find unusual and appear to you to be based on Greek or Latin. Break down one of these words into its constituent roots based on the etymologies provided in dictionaries. This must be submitted through the Learning Portal by 11:59 p.m. the night before each class; late assignments will not be accepted, but one will be subtracted from the final evaluation. We will analyse these words during class the following day. Assessment is based on both the completion of the assignment and participation in class.

Vocabulary analysis paper

This assignment builds on your weekly experience examining vocabulary from journals. Select twenty terms total from any two recent (2014) articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and analyse their etymology and meaning. You should use at least three different dictionaries (or other scholarly sources) to support your findings.