A Glossary of Forensics Terms

Going to a speech tournament for the first time has caused many intelligent people to question when they left the country. People talking to inanimate objects (walls, trees, etc...), people carrying on intense conversations with themselves (or imaginary people), are just a few of the indications that you have entered the forensics zone. And just as traveling to a foreign country requires a translation dictionary, hanging around forensics requires one as well. We therefore offer this concise glossary of important terms.

 

ADS - An acronym for "After Dinner Speaking." This event is also known as STE. For a complete description of this and all other events, see our event descriptions.

A.F.A. - The American Forensics Association. Sponsor of the NIET (National Individual Events Tournament) and the NDT (National Debate Tournament).

Ballots - Forms used by judges to make comments on a speaker's performance and also to rank and rate the speaker. Ballots go to the tab room where they are recorded and then placed in the school's packet. The packets are available to the schools at the conclusion of the awards ceremony. The information on them is confidential until that time.

Breaking - This is the term used to describe when a competitor advances from preliminary rounds to elimination rounds, or from one elimination round to the next (ie. semifinals to finals).

Brief - A small undergarment. Or a carefully prepared outline of main points or issues, including the evidence to support each point, used in debate. This term is never used to describe a speech given at an opening or closing banquet at nationals.

Bye - When an uneven number of competitors are present and this produces a gap in a panel this term is used.

CA - An acronym for "Communication Analysis." For a complete description of this and all other events, see our event descriptions.

C.C.C.F.A - The California Community College Forensics Association. Sponsor of the California State Chamionships for community colleges.

CEDA - The Cross Examination Debate Association.

Code - A number and/or letter (sometimes used in conjunction with your last name) which designates you as a competitor in the tournament. This is used on all postings, ballots, and cume sheets.

Cume - The sum of rankings (and sometimes ratings) in rounds of competition; a numerical score. As in golf, a low score is best ( a person receiving three 1st place rankings would have a "cume" of 3).

Cume Sheets - Documents used to record the scores of all competitors in a tournament. Copies are given to schools with their ballots at the conclusion of a tournament.

Cutting - The process and/or result of selecting and editing specific material for presentation. It may refer to the cutting of evidence for debate or the cutting of literature for interpretative programs.

Debater - A term (often pejorative) used to describe those individuals who specialize in debate.

DI - An acronym for "Oral Interpretation of Drama." For a complete description of this and all other events, see our event descriptions.

Double Entered - The situation that occurs when a speaker is entered in two different events which are scheduled in the same pattern of events. This is also referred to in other multiples such as "triple entered" for three events etc..

Duo - Short for "Duo Interpretation." For a complete description of this and all other events, see our event descriptions.

Expos - Short for "Expository Speaking" aka "Informative Speaking." For a complete description of this and all other events, see our event descriptions.

Extemp - Short for "Extemporaneous Speaking." For a complete description of this and all other events, see our event descriptions.

Extemp File - This is the collection of articles, magazines, journals, newspapers, etc., as well as an index for them, used in the preparation of an extemporaneous speech.

Flowing - A method of note taking during a debate that enables the debater, judge, and/or listener to keep track of the development on arguments throughout successive speeches. It represents the flow of an argument in a debate, hence the term.

IE's - An acronym for individual events. All events other than debate and reader's theatre make up the individual events. Individuals who participate primarily in these events opposed to debate, are often referred to as "IE-ers."

Interp - Short for "Interpretation." This term can apply to any of the interpretive events such as Poetry, Prose, POI, Duo, etc... For a complete description of these and all other events, see our event descriptions. Individuals who specialize in these events are often referred to as "Interp-ers."

L/D - An acronym for Lincoln Douglas debate. This is one on one debate.

NDT - An acronym for National Debate Topic.

NFA - The National Forensics Association.

No Show - A term used when a competitor listed does not compete in a round. This, unless it was the tournament's fault, effectively eliminates a competitor from the tournament.

Pairings - The process and/or result of matching debate teams, L/D debaters, or RT teams for competition.

Paneling - The systematic process of dividing and mixing contestants in IE's so that schools, speaker position, and people meeting in rounds are varied. The result of this process is called panels.

Phi Rho Pi - The honorary forensics society for community colleges. This organization is the sponsor of the community college national championships.

POI - An acronym for "Program Oral Interpretation of Literature." For a complete description of this and all other events, see our event descriptions.

Postings - Sheets which list divisions, events, and code numbers in panels with times and locations for each of the rounds of competition.

Prose - Short for "Oral Interpretation of Prose." For a complete description of this and all other events, see our event descriptions.

PSCFA - The Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensic Association. This is a local "league" which sponsors several major tournaments.

Ranking - The ordering of contestants in relation to one another by the judge at the completion of a round of competition.

Rating - A judges assesment of a contestant's speaking ability overall. This assessment is be expressed in terms of Superior, Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor. At many tournaments these terms are expressed numerically. Two common scales are 1-25 or 70-100.

RT - An acronym for "Reader's Theatre." This event is also known as IT or "Interpreter's Theatre." For a complete description of this and all other events, see our event descriptions.

Slot - A term used to refer to an individual entry. If you are entered in three events, you are said to have three "slots."

STE - An acronym for "Speech to Entertain." This event is also known as ADS. For a complete description of this and all other events, see our event descriptions.

Tab Room - Tournament headquarters. This is the place where all of the tournament administration details are carried out, from paneling to the tabulation of results. This room is usually off limits to everyone except tournament staff.