Not many people know I grew up being terrified of speaking or performing to the public. Yet, my childhood was filled with dance recitals, theater/piano performances and presenting twenty minute to half an hour long presentations in college and my masters program. And because of the trauma of screwing up, I never missed a note in a piano recital, a line in a theatrical performance or a step in a dance routine. I know I've fumbled over a few words presenting my senior thesis to my professors and peers but for the most part, I've always come out of the experience feeling happy with the end result. As Children's Librarian, all I do is host programs, events and read to a decent sized audience in story time every week.You're probably wondering what does this short story have anything to do with today's grammar lesson?! As someone whose been on the other side of the stage many times, I'm wondering if you all know the difference between a podium and a lectern because so many people get the two confused. So on with today's lesson!
A podium is a slightly raised platform that a public speaker or conductor stands on so that he may be seen. A podium is also a low rise which functions as a pedestal or foundation. The plural form is podiums or podia, either is correct. Podium comes from the Greek word podion meaning foot of a vase.
A lectern is a tall stand with a top suitable for holding a book or notes for a speech. Lecterns are common in classrooms, churches and auditoriums. Due to the confusion between the words podium and lectern, a lectern is often incorrectly referred to as a podium, especially in North America. Lectern first appears in the fourteenth century as lettorne or lettron, from the medieval Latin word lectrum, which in turn comes from the Latin word legere which means to read.
...and in case you're still confused here is an image :)
(image via uppercase)