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Scientific prose style

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The name is self-explanatory.

Functional style exists to provide specialists with un-to-date and relevant information about the world around us. The up-to-date information is understood different from newspaper discourse.

This information is supposed to reflect the result of research into the world around us.

(goes on constantly until a new research comes along – invalidate (признавать недействительными) the old theories)

Scientific dicsourse is mostly expository (разъяснительный), but it may include discriptive and narrative passages. Expository – texts written to explain an idea in a clear and precise manner. The aim is to ensure (убедиться) that the reader fully grasps the idea.


Several classifications:

  1. according to subject matter texts are divided:

a) humanities and social sciences

b) sciences (in general) (scientific cvc/theoretical texts and technical/practical texts)


  1. on the addressee of the text:

a) scientific discourse proper

- for a limited group of readers who are professionally related to the area of research

b) popular scientific discourse

- texts present a simplify version of data and have a stronger emotional appeal to the audience => to make people interested in the subject


Genres of scientific discourse include textbooks, scientific papers, essays, reports, reviews, articles, academic journals, lectures, manuals, operating instructions…


The methodology of science with its demand systematic researches and precise discription has several consequences reflected in the linguistic characteristics of scientific texts:

- logical coherence

- objectivity

- impersonal statement of facts

- clarity

- brevity (краткость)

- authority

Logical coherence:

-to achieve it the text is organised in clear succinct (сжатый, краткий) paragraphs, highly cohesive entities based on logic.

Most paragraphs begin with general semantic point and the sentence that follows it, elaborate (конкретизирует, развивает) it. The theme of the next paragraphs usually derives (извлекать) from the elaboration from the previous. The same tendency is observed in sentences: a new element at the end is picked up in the beginning of the next.

The relations between sentence and clauses are usually made explicit (ясный) with the use of connectives. Scientific texts abound in cross-referent relations both cataphoric (элемент в тексте, относящийся к последующей информации) and anaphoric (элемент в тексте, относящийся к предшествующей информации). Anaphoric means pointing to the preceding element.

Objectivity – is reflected through the use of terminology, limited use of personal pronouns and accounts of experiments. Terms – the most characteristic. Mono-semantic character.

Personal pronouns “we, they, one” are preferable to “I”. But in modern – can be, especially when the author stresses the authorship of the idea.

With nominalized forms we need to point to the infinitive constructions (participial, gerendual).

Nouns are accompanied by attributes in pre/post-position.

: photo electric (-pre) cells and other recepters for light (-post)

automatic gyrocompas ship steering system


Non-verbial representations (figures, diagrams, drawings, schemes) and alternative languages (in tests of Matematics/Chemistry)


It is expressed through a clear organisation of the text, abbriviations and limited use of elliptical sentences. If we talk about organisation: introduction, body, conclusion (closing part).


For more serious publication these requirements are usually abstract.


The text itself should be divided by special headings in order which best suits the subject under discussion.


Papers must contain an extract as materials, methods, results and discussion. They can be supplied with acknowledgement and reference list and bibliography. Abbriviations may be proposed by the authors (common).


Quotations, foot-notes (сноски)

- are word for word reproduction of another texts. References after quoatation must contain the page number. References are information about where the reader can find more information of the subject.


Linguistic feature of scientific discourse:

1. lexical

- subject matter neutral vocabulary (in any scientific texts, words of exposition “to estimate, varify”, words of advising “to ensure, to notice”, modifies “continuously, clock-wise”)

- the terms

- abbreviations

- latin low words

- novel vocabulary (“to reput, restart”)

- absence of vulgarisms or slangs

- high lexical density


2. grammatical

- sentenses are mostly long with complex internal structure

- subordination prevails over coordination

- passive constructions (we come across)

- use of parenthesis

- high frequency of noun phrases

- use of nominalized forms

- limited use of personal pronouns



3. syntactical

- presence of quotations

- the penetration (проникновение) of a dialogue/dialogical features/represented speech

- emotiveness of scientific text (sometimes)

- emotive evaluation (sometimes)

- in some genres find figurative language and genuine metaphor


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