The Development of Scientific Writing - Linguistic Features and Historical Context - David Banks

The Development of Scientific Writing - Linguistic Features and Historical Context - David Banks

Appendix 2

The Development of Scientific Writing - Linguistic Features and Historical Context - David Banks

David Banks [+-]
Université de Bretagne Occidentale (Brest)
David Banks is Emeritus Professor of English Linguistics at the Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest, France, where he was formerly chairman of the English Department, director of ERLA (Equipe de Recherché en Linguistique Appliquée), and director of the Masters programme in Translation and Technical Writing.. He is also a former chairman of AFLSF (Association Française de la Linguistique Systémique Fonctionnelle). He has published over 90 academic articles, and authored or edited over 20 books. His publication, The Development of Scientific Writing, Linguistic features and historical context (Equinox 2008), won the ESSE (European Society for the Study of English) 2010 Language and Linguistics Book Award. His current research interests include the linguistic analysis of scientific text, and its emergence in English and French in the late seventeenth century, and the application of SFL (Systemic Functional Linguistics) to English and French.

Description

Winner of the European Society for the Study of English Language and Linguistics Book Award 2010 This book is one of the first applications of a functional approach to language across time. It first summarizes and evaluates previous studies of the development of scientific language, including Halliday’s exploration of this fascinating topic. It then traces the development of scientific writing as a genre, in terms of its linguistic features, from Chaucer’s Treatise on the Astrolabe (the first technical text written in English) almost to the present. It goes on to consider texts by major scientists of the late seventeenth century, and then analyses and discusses a corpus of texts taken from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, covering the period 1700 to 1980. The main linguistic features studied are the use of passive forms, first person pronouns, nominalization, and thematic structure. This brings out the interestingly different patterns of development in the physical and biological sciences. It also highlights previously unnoticed effects, such as the influence of mathematical modelling on texts in the physical sciences - though not, interestingly, the biological sciences - from the late nineteenth century onwards. Thus scientific language - like virtually all language - is intimately related to the context (here the ‘field’) within which it is produced.

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Citation

Banks, David. Appendix 2. The Development of Scientific Writing - Linguistic Features and Historical Context. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 205 - 206 Dec 2008. ISBN 9781845533175. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=21318. Date accessed: 15 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.21318. Dec 2008

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