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How to Write (Science) Better. Simplified English Principles in a Skill-Oriented ESP Course


Teaching writing to doctoral students or academics at a technical university is a challenging task. Because they need to publish their research findings in English to pursue academic careers, they are usually highly motivated and expect a lot of the class. Their language competences, however, very often lack enough proficiency and may contribute to manuscript rejection. The paper focuses on language issues based on the rules of controlled natural languages (CNLs) and guidelines of Plain English. It shows how employing these issues improves grammatical quality and readability of science-oriented written texts. The paper describes four principles: removing nominalisation and using the so-called strong verbs to make the message simpler and more direct; combining nouns in strings to express complex ideas economically; applying grammatical consistency for coordinate elements in sentences to make them less chaotic; and reducing wordiness to obtain a more precise and comprehensible piece of writing. Sample phrases and sentences from authentic student writing as well as their improved versions are provided to each of the guidelines so that a reader has a deeper insight into how the principles work in a specialist context. Because problems with, for example, research papers, grant proposals or reports are common to various disciplines and at various levels, the Author of the paper draws conclusions that these principles should be implemented not only in a technical but also legal, medical and business writing course offered by English teachers to both young researchers and experienced scientists.

Zeitrahmen der Veröffentlichung:
4 Hefte pro Jahr
Fachgebiete der Zeitschrift:
Philosophie, andere