Student vs pupil

Status
Not open for further replies.

navvy

New member
Joined
Jan 19, 2013
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
English
Home Country
Scotland
Current Location
Netherlands
Some time ago a poster asked whether the words student and pupil are synonymous. Most answers indicated that the word pupil was archaic and that both in the UK and in the US the term student applied from primary school up to university.

It was also stated that a student is one who observes. In my book that would be an observer and a student is one who studies ... a subject.

I deplore the use of the word student for school children. It is a relatively recent departure in the UK and, I suspect in the US as well.

The term pupil is used by government in the UK. It is also a legal term and is used, as in articled pupil, for someone who is accredited to a master for the purpose of learning a profession

This change is yet another example of the devaluation of our language and the reduction in our active vocabularies. A person who was one a foreman is now termed a manager; an associate is now a member and a member now a fellow.
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
I try to use the term "pupil" for anyone in compulsory education (up to the age of 16 in England), and "student" for anyone older. I see being a student as a choice, but you have to be a school pupil whether you like it or not.

I realise that my choice of words is not reflected in general usage. I think many teenagers feel that "pupil" makes them sound a lot younger and certainly refer to themselves as "students". In a way, I can see what they mean. "Primary/junior school pupils" sounds fine but somehow "secondary school pupils" doesn't really gel, even for me. Maybe it's just the prevalence of the term, but "secondary school students" rings better for me.
 

billmcd

Key Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Thanks for your commentary. I would agree that language and use of certain terms change with the times, but as far as your last observation, the term "foreman" is still generally used in the U.S., particularly in a manufacturing facility, while you would not see/hear the titles "member"as a substitute for "associate" nor "fellow" for "member". Also, and again in the U.S., the term "student" is commonly used to refer to "school children" as is "pupil" depending on context. And finally, I sense that you must feel strongly about the issue with use of the term "deplore".
 

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
This change is yet another example of the devaluation of our language
People have been saying that sort of thing for over four centuries. The language changes. Who is to say that that is 'devaluation'?
 

konungursvia

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
You Scots were always very close to the French and their traditions. You're right of course, but with language, whatever everyone else is doing and saying actually does matter. So you're pushing your boat upstream, I'm afraid, and into the wind.
 

konungursvia

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
The more things change, the more they stay the same. I forget which German philosopher noted that every era finds itself at the cusp of humanity, and the end of tradition, the point where things may just collapse.

And we all deplore the innovations of the young. When we're over 30, and they're under 20.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top