Parliamentary debate is known for its varying terminology, adopted from several different formats. This article serves as an introduction to some of the debate jargon you might hear in a round.
Open Parliamentary debate is often considered a confusing format to adopt, largely because of its influence from a multitude of other debate formats. Furthermore, due to Parliamentary debate’s influence nationally, different debaters use terminology to explain their case.
Below is a chart that outlines the basic vocabulary necessary to excel in Parliamentary debate.
Advantage: An advantage is an argument that works in favor of your case. The term “advantage” is used for the proposition/affirmative/government team. Typically, a team has 2-3 advantages.
Constructive speech: Constructive speeches are all four of the first and second speeches.
Counterplan text: A counterplan text is the conversing plan provided by the opposition/negation team. A good counterplan text will be only possible on the negation side (conflicts directly with the affirmative plan).
Disadvantage: A disadvantage is an argument from the negation team. This argument, also known as a “disad," serves as a reason not to vote with the affirmative team.
Fallacy: A fallacy is a false idea or interpretation of an event.
Inherency: Inherency typically means that on balance, a specific policy has in the past or will continue to fail in the future.
Link: Links connect one aspect of your argument to another part of the argument, providing an explanation about their relationship.
Kritik: A kritik, often called a “K,” challenges the philosophy or ethics behind your opponent’s logic.
Mutual exclusivity: If two plans or ideas are mutually exclusive, they are unable to happen at the same time. In debate, one will typically note that a counterplan text is not mutually exclusive because it can also happen in the affirmative world.
Off-case: Off-case is a point in the flow when you critique the other team’s case, rather than just their arguments. For example, off-case refutations include topicality arguments and kritiks.
On-case: On-case is a point on the flow when you deal with advantages/disadvantages directly.
PIC: A PIC is a plan-inclusive counterplan. It will modify the affirmative plan in some way that gives the negation team ground without completely negating the concept of the plan.
Plantext: The plantext is the affirmative plan to solve a given issue, which is typically used for a policy motion.
Role of the ballot: The role of the ballot is the burden for the round, or how the judge should evaluate the winner. For example, in a policy motion, the given burden and weighing mechanism is net benefits.
Solvency: Solvency is used to describe how effective a policy or idea solves an issue. If a concept does not solve the issue of the debate, then there is no solvency.
T-shell: A t-shell, also known as a topicality shell, notes that a particular side (typically the affirmative) is debating outside the realm of the debate. If the affirmative leaves the negation team no ground, then the negation can run a t-shell.
Warrant: A warrant is the way that you justify an advantage or refutation. Think of a warrant as reasoning.
For more information on the content discussed in this article, please visit our Parliamentary Resource page.