Assignment 2 Option 1
Language represents human’s experiences and different fields hold different ways of language using. The language of science actively constructs scientific reality, i.e. a way of looking at the world, the roles assigned to readers and the way of organizing information (LING337-nominalisation). However, science may be presented diversely according to the different intended audience, purposes and modes. Three texts chosen in this paper are all concerned with the same scientific reality, but their language differs widely. The ways in which science are presented in this three texts largely depends on their audience, purposes and modes. To put it another way, language of science in the chosen texts changes with changes in audience, purpose and mode. The focus of the present paper is on how the language of science changes with different audience, purposes and modes from the perspectives of genre, technical language, lexical density, nominal groups and nominalisation, information organization, writer-reader relationship and the use of visuals. The first section of this paper is a brief introduction of the background and purpose. Part two, the most important one, extensively focuses on the detailed analysis of language changes of science. Then the concluding section sums up the main ideas.
2. Analysis and comment
Swales (1990) indicates that genres are a class of communicative events linked by some set of communicative purposes shared by members of a particular community; these purposes are the rationale of the genre and help to shape the ways it is organized and the choices of content and style it makes (LING337-Genre). It can be seen that the communicative purpose of a genre is realized by highly organized move structure, which in turn is achieved by rhetorical strategies.
Text 1, taken from New Scientist, is a very popular international science magazine aiming at reporting the latest scientific development to the public. As a non-peer-reviewed magazine, the main readers of which are non-scientists. To achieve its communicative purposes, this text moves from the headline—“Ancient European hunter-gatherer was a blue-eyed boy”— to by-line (source and the writer), then to introduction (theme of the whole text), and lastly comes the main body. In the body part, the main idea of “An ancient hunter-gather has a genome similar to modern humans” is expanded by presenting more details with two subheadings: “Farming genes” and “Healthy genomes”. What’s more, exemplifications and explanations are made full use to illustrate this scientific finding. All in all, as far as the genre is considered, the first text is a popular science news article. Text 2 is a piece of up-to-the-minute news from BBC website. BBC News provides the politically impartial news for people around the world, thus the target audience are the public who are interested in the world news or learning English. This text is organized by heading, by-line, and two subheadings. As for the content and style, it repeats the scientific experiment with objective data and experts’ words. All these features go to the field of pedagogic science. Text 3 is an article published in the journal Nature, a highly respected scientific journal in that all the articles are peer-reviewed and maintain high research standards. Accordingly, the primary readers for this journal are research scientists. This text is much longer and complex with lots of data, tales and figures, which give hints of professional science. To present the process of research, this text follows the formal structure of a research article: introduction, methods, results and discussion (LING337-Genre).
2.2 Technical language
Technical language is a typical characteristic of scientific articles. Ways to create technical language include taxonomies, definitions, compositions, naming and so on (LING337-nominalisation). By employing the technical language, information...
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