The paper “ Technicality and Abstraction - Language for the Creation of Specialized Texts” is a creative variant of an annotated bibliography in English. This annotated bibliography highlights and critically evaluates several kinds of literature on the issue of English for general or specific academic purposes. The literature is grouped into three topical issues in English for general academic purposes. These topical issues include a review of literature for general academic purposes vis-à -vis those intended for specific academic purposes. The second topical issue involves a review of literature that explores some significant features of language in at least one specific subject area of the disciplinary field.
Lastly, the annotated bibliography reviews the learning and teaching of academic English as discussed in selected academic English literature. Finally, the bibliography sums lessons learn from the reviewed literature on conceptualization and approaches to teaching English for academic purposes. Burns, A. & Coffin C. 2001, ‘ Analysing English in a global context: A reader’ , Routledge in association with Macquarie University and the Open University: London: A brief introduction to the purpose of the textThe book’ s chapter on “ Technicality and Abstraction: Language for the Creation of Specialized Texts” explores the application of English in writing of formal texts in sciences and social sciences.
In particular, the chapter discusses how the English concept of abstraction is used to create specialized texts in sciences and social sciences that demand a professional rather than layman or general conversance with the science or social science discipline. Summary of the content, with reference to concepts referred to in the courseThe chapter begins by classifying English language genres into three their taxonomical groups that are analogously compared to biological classification.
The English language is classified as past, present, or future as well as either active or passive voice. This classification is then cited as the distinguishing feature between academic English and general English. The chapter then discusses the application of the English language in writing classification, explanatory as well as technical text in science as well as a social science discipline. The chapter singles out abstraction as the distinguishing feature between academic English versus general English. Evaluative reflection on the contentThe chapter creates a precise analogy between taxonomy and nominal groupings in the English language.
Furthermore, the chapter provides good examples on the application of English for academic purposes as illustrated by academic writing excerpts from geography and humanities. However, the chapter fails to provide the nitty-gritty of pedagogical rationality of the distinctions made between general English versus academic English. The chapter also fails to authenticate its proposition by applying genre analysis principles. Christie, F. & Martin J. R. 1997, ‘ Genre and institutions social processes in the workplace and school’ , Cassell: New York. A brief introduction to the purpose of the textThe book’ s chapter on “ Learning how to mean – scientifically speaking: apprenticeship into the scientific discourse in secondary school” looks at the genre of English language used for writing scientific texts particularly for secondary school learners.
The chapter looks at how linguistic genres are employed to create a favored and distinctive way of looking at the world in scientific discourse. Several linguistic genres exploited in TEAP are explored in the chapter including descriptive, and explanation genres. The explanation genre is further classified into several functional areas like causal explanations, factorial explanations, explorations, sequential explanations, theoretical explanations, and consequential explanations.
The chapter hence classifies a scientific text as a descriptive report or a taxonomic report based on its organization of scientific information. It also introduces discussion and exposition genres that are employed in critiquing of challenging a scientific text.
Burns, A. & Coffin C. 2001, ‘Analysing English in a global context: A reader’, Routledge in association with Macquarie University and the Open University: London:
Christie, F. & Martin J. R. 1997, ‘Genre and institutions social processes in the workplace and school’, Cassell: New York.
Christison, M., Christian, D., Duff, P., & Spada, N. (Eds.). 2015, ‘Teaching and Learning English Grammar: Research Findings and Future Directions’, Routledge: New York.
Coffin, C. 2010, ‘Applied linguistics methods: A reader: Systemic functional linguistics, critical discourse analysis, and ethnography’, Routledge: London.
Hood, S. 2015, ‘Live Lectures: The Significance of Presence in Building Disciplinary Knowledge’, Lecture presented at For publication in Onomázein, 2015 Online, Sydney.
Hyland, K., & Hamp-Lyons, L. 2002, ‘EAP: Issues and directions’, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, vol 1 no. 2002, pp 1-12.