The Word “Dad” – TOEFL Vocabulary
The word “Dad” – being the most common colloquial and familiar alternative to the word “Father” in the English language, can be fit into a number of the categories that I have included into The TOEFL Vocabulary Database.
- It functions as “Level-Checking” Vocabulary, because the chances that one who is preparing for The TOEFL iBT Exam has not yet heard of, or knows, this word are quite low… yet, if it happens, then this is a good indication that that person’s “Level” is not yet high enough for The TOEFL iBT Exam, and there-fore, also not high enough to excel in a University-type setting. Additionally, it will be unconsciously expected that a person in both situations – absolutely – will know this word… Thus the term “Level-Checking”.
- It functions as (semi-) “Functional” Vocabulary, because the chances that a person will hear this word in a question on the exam may happen – but more likely, the fact that a person may USE this word in his or her answer in the Independent Speaking Section, and Writing Section answers is quite high. However, I use the prefix “semi-“ because the person does not NEED to use this term. If one wishes to mention his or her “Dad”, then that person can always say “Father”, “Papa”, or whatever else is more common from where that person comes from.
- “Unique Word-Transformation” Vocabulary… And once again, this word, does differ from the last and most of the following “Unique Word-Transformation” Vocabulary terms, in that we are not simply transforming it from noun, to verb, to adjective, etc. (In fact, with this word, such a thing is impossible.) But it certainly does qualify as “unique”.
The reason I chose this word, is because of the fact that most people DO have a word that they use to refer to their “Father”. And, because of the fact that a person’s “Father” is (hopefully) very close to each person – these words and names are a very “personal” thing. Some people might say: “Papa”, “Dada”, “Dati”, “Bashta”, and probably hundreds of other equivalent terms. The same is true in different English-speaking cultures as well.
This is relevant because – especially in The Speaking Section – a person might choose to use his or her “Father” to speak of someone who has had a great influence on his or her life (a very common theme in Speaking Section – Task 1). For many people, it is un-common for them to refer to this person as, “my Father” – And so, if they were answering Speaking Section – Task 1, they might saying something like…
Do you see what is happening here?
The person – while answering the question – is thinking of his or her “Father”, and so the brain automatically goes to the word which he or she calls him naturally. Then the person stumbles and says the colloquial word for “Father” in his or her native language – then remembers that he or she is taking an exam in English, and corrects him or herself by saying “Father”.
But, when one has 45 seconds to deliver his or her answer (in The Independent Speaking – Task 1) – and then stumbles with his or her words… then, that person has, not only wasted at least 5 – 7 seconds (a very long time in this instance), but there is a high probably that an incredible feeling of tension and frustration washes over the person, making it feel impossible to finish one’s answer effectively.
Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with saying ANY of those words, but as this is an English exam, and it is desirous for one to make sure that he or she is clearly understood in the answers that are given, then it is a good idea to get into the habit of saying “Father” (or “Dad”).
Throughout this post, I have used the word “Father” more often than “Dad”. This is because it is probably the “better” word to use. But as I stated previously, for many people, this may feel a bit too formal. However, this is a fairly “formal” exam, so it is a good habit to develop. And it is also quite possible that the test-taker may not have to even use this word… Maybe the exam asks a completely different question. Or maybe the person wishes to speak about, his or her “Mother”, “Uncle”, “Cousin”, etc… That’s great! Then, no worries. But then this also goes back to the simple fact that this is also “Level-Checking” Vocabulary. And, if a person does not know this word… (which he or she damn-well better by this point in the post!) 😀 …then it is time to start studying some more.
Have An Excellent Day!
(And Go Give Your Dad A Hug)