Itís an interesting issue, so I decided to put forth some rather detailed explanations. Reading them, youíll see that their connotations are not that identical.
They are mostly my own definitions and have been useful for the students of English and research, and are based on the linguistic rule that says even synonymous words donít convey the same sense precisely: thereís always a distinctive feature.
- Propose: is a rather formal verb that simply means to suggest. It usually refers to a plan or a set of actions which may be accepted or not. It may be scientific or strategic. A principle may propose that the students should develop social skills by taking appropriate courses. A country may propose armistice. A scientist may propose a new method of doing something. Such proposals may be rejected or accepted.*****
- Concept: is a bit difficult to be defined. In general, it refers to anything that can be taken into the mind, including objects, ideas, and imagined pictures, and in particular, it usually refers to the principles or ideas of any source of knowledge or science. These ideas are usually lexicalized in the jargon or the technical terms of the science in question. For example, linguistic/ social/ philosophical/ religious concepts.*****
For instance, mathematics, being more subjective than physics, tends to be more theoretical.
- Theory: is an idea, principle or belief derived from an abstract analysis of the supposed nature of something (existing) in the world. For instance, A Translation Theory is the fruit of a researcherís attempts to come up with a systematic explanation of the process of translation. But it should be pointed out that a theory may be plausible as long as itís not ruled out. A theoretical explanation guides those who are concerned with practical matters. Sometimes the results gained through practice are in clash with theoretical speculations.
- Hypothesis: is usually defined as a tentative answer to a question; the answer, however, is to be subjected to empirical investigation which is itself a systematic procedure whose ultimate purpose is to discover the validity of scientific speculations. Therefore, as you see, a hypothesis is different from a theory in that the former is an answer to a question and the latter is a principle or idea.
Uncovering the possible relation between two variables is usually the main purpose of stating a hypothesis.
- Postulate: is something that is assumed to be true for an argument or analysis. Of course, it may not be proven to be absolutely real or factual, but it helps the parties involved in an argument to develop their views by following a special direction. So it serves as a basis for an argument.
For example, a novelist may describe his experience of living with elves in a dark
forest; it may sound strange to you, but if you want to evaluate the writerís work,
youíll need to accept his postulates.
A philosopher may believe that morality is relative or he may think itís absolute;
in either case, by putting on the philosopherís eyeglasses, we assume what he says
is right, and accordingly, the argumentation MAY turn out to be more purposeful.
Student or Learner