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What exactly is procedural vocabulary? I've read that it refers to words that explain the meaning of another word.

For example: A rose is a type of flower

It says that "type" is a procedural word. I'm not sure I understand. Why isn't "of flower" procedural too?

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NecrophagistWhat exactly is procedural vocabulary?

There are several different ways in which "procedural vocabulary" is used. Let's focus on the one that is most relevant to your question, which has nothing to do with writing procedures, i.e., directions, instructions, etc.


Many scholars who are concerned with the teaching of language want to know which words in a language are most useful for learners. These very common, useful words form "the core" of the language.

These scholars find that some words in the core vocabulary of a language are of special "procedural" value to learners because these words are used so often in creating definitions of other words or in explaining the usage of other words. From this they derive the terminology "procedural vocabulary", the words of the language which have these useful properties.

This leads them to ask questions like "Which is the procedural word in this group?" or "Which word would be most useful in defining other words in the group?" Suppose the list is "gobble, dine, eat, devour". The most useful word here is "eat" because the other words in the list can be defined as types of eating. The meaning of "eat" is contained within "gobble", "dine", and "devour". "to gobble" is to eat quickly and carelessly, "to dine" is to eat in formal surroundings, and so on.

Also, since these are all kinds or types of eating, you can see that "kind" and "type" are also very useful when you want to define words, so these words are also part of procedural vocabulary.

A rose is a type of flower.

I would say that both 'type' and 'flower' are procedural words, but 'type' can be used in all kinds of situations, not just those related to flowers, so it's even more important than 'flower' as a procedural word.

A geranium is a type of flower. / A car is a type of vehicle. / A hammer is a type of tool. / An artichoke is a type of vegetable. / A robin is a type of bird.

CJ