Classifying natural phenomena through language: lexicogrammatical resources for constructing taxonomies in Japanese biology textbooks
Chie Hayakawa [+]
Nagoya University of Arts
This chapter aims to describe the linguistic resources deployed in science textbooks that are used in Japanese high schools. Textbooks are important resources for students in that they provide both models of written scientific discourse and the linguistic features typical of the genre of scientific discourse. This chapter takes a top-down view which treats grammatical devices as the resources for realising rhetorical purposes or functions. While the discourse of science has a variety of functions, this chapter focuses on the actual lexicogrammatical choices made to construct the aspect of science, which is the classification of phenomena into taxonomical orders. The relevant lexicogrammatical choices are those which contribute to micro-scale formation such as transitivity etc., and macro-scale organisation such as the thematic development of texts. The analysis will show that Japanese academic texts both provide a wide range of micro-scale linguistic resources necessary for constructing specialised taxonomies as well as effectively incorporating these resources into the macro-scale structure of texts in order to achieve the purpose of the text.