English for Academic Purposes.



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English for Academic Purposes.



English for Academic Purposes.

Writing essays

 

Сборник текстов и упражнений по развитию навыков письменной речи на английском языке для студентов дневной формы обучения

 

 

Красноярск 2009

 

УДК 802.0:378=20

 

Рецензенты

кандидат философских наук, доцент Жанна Николаевна Шмелева

(Красноярский государственный аграрный университет)

кандидат филологических наук, доцент Елена Николаевна Белова

(Красноярский государственный педагогический университет имени В.П. Астафьева)

 

Печатается по решению Редакционно-издательского
совета Университета

 

 

М.В. Савельева, О. В. Маслова, Т.В. Стрекалева, А.Н. Ткачук. Е.А. Гончаров

English for academic purposes. Writing Essays:Сб. текстов и упражнений по развитию навыков письменной речи на английском языке для студентов дневной формы обучения / сост.: М.В. Савельева, О.В. Маслова, Т.В. Стрекалева, А.Н. Ткачук, А.Е.Гончаров; СибГАУ, Красноярск, 2009. - 80 с.

 

Учебное издание

САВЕЛЬЕВА Марина Викторовна

МАСЛОВА Ольга Викентьевна

СТРЕКАЛЕВА Татьяна Владимировна

ТКАЧУК Алла Николаевна

ГОНЧАРОВ Александр Евгениевич

English for academic purposes. Writing Essays

 

Сборник текстов и упражнений

по развитию навыков письменной речи на английском языке

для студентов дневной формы обучения

 

 

Редактор А. А. Ловчикова

Подп. в печать ................ Усл. печ. л. . . Уч.-изд. л. .....

С 80.

.

© Сибирский государственный аэрокосмический
университет имени академика М. Ф. Решетнева, 2009

ПРЕДИСЛОВИЕ

 

Сборниктекстов и упражнений по развитию навыков письменной речи на английском языке "English for Academic Purposes. Writing essays» предназначен для проведения занятий со студентами дневной формы обучения, имеющими продвинутый уровень подготовки, а именно, студентами старших курсов, магистрантами и аспирантами.

Данный сборник составлен на основе современных текстов учебника "Discoveries in Academic Writing" (Barbara Harris Leonhard, University of Missouri-Columbia, 2003). Необходимость выпуска издания обусловлена недостаточным количеством специально разработанных учебников для обучения студентов написанию такого вида письменных работ как эссе. Сборник может быть использован для проведения аудиторных занятий, а также для самостоятельной работы студентов в качестве источника разнообразных текстов, примеров эссе, упражнений и творческих письменных заданий.

Курс рассчитан на 68 часов аудиторных занятий (один семестр при четырехчасовой сетке занятий в неделю), 34 часа отводятся для самостоятельной внеаудиторной работы студента.

Сборник состоит из пяти уроков, направленных на обучение письменной речи на английском языке с постепенным усложнением задачи: от структуры абзаца к структуре эссе с использованием аутентичного языкового материала. Каждый из уроков построен по единому принципу: урок предваряет изложение целей, далее следуют вводные упражнения, выполнение которых дает возможность студенту выразить свое мнение по изучаемой теме, а преподавателю определить уровень компетентности обучаемых. В каждый урок включена теоретическая часть («Introduction») на английском языке, внимательное чтение которой при дополнительном разъяснении преподавателя позволяет студенту понять содержание темы урока. Приводимые здесь же примеры значительно облегчают процесс усвоения материала.

Каждый урок содержит набор письменных упражнений формирующих навык написания эссе, причем упражнения составлены и подобраны таким образом, что их выполнение целенаправленно обучают особенностям эссеистического стиля – образности, подвижности ассоциаций, афористичности, открытости в изложении индивидуального суждения. Дополнительные лексические и грамматические упражнений существенно помогают студенту правильно оформить высказывания. Студенты начинают процесс письма с небольших сочинений в объеме 150-200 слов и заканчивают написанием сочинения в объеме 800 слов; для реализации этой задачи авторами разработаны задания «In-class Writing Assignment», выполняемые на занятии и «Out-of-class Writing Assignment», предназначенные для боле глубокой подготовки и изложения вне аудитории. Для написания эссе требуется как хорошее знание языка, так и достаточно высокий уровень общей культуры студента, т.к. для раскрытия темы может потребоваться не только описание личного опыта, но и, например, знание англоязычной литературы.

Существенную помощь в обучении окажут аудио записи, сделанные носителями языка, а также комплект видеоматериалов «Video Aided Instructions», представляющий полный курс обучения с разъяснениями, иллюстрациями и упражнениями на английском языке.

Сегодня эссе как жанр сочинения активно вводится в учебные программы образовательных учреждений. Во многих вузах такой вид письменной работы как эссе предлагается в качестве выпускного или вступительного экзамена, причем не только там, где предметная область – литература и русский язык, но и иностранные языки. Умение писать эссе является требованием многих международных образовательных программ как составная часть обязательной языковой подготовки для обучения в университете за рубежом.

Авторы надеются, что сборник окажется интересным по содержанию, а предлагаемые задания помогут студентам овладеть практическими навыками написания эссе, которые будут востребованы ими при обучении в российском вузе, а также, возможно, и за рубежом.

 

Авторы

Оглавление

Предисловие................................................................................................ 3

 

Unit 1

English Academic Writing

Effective academic writing ................................................................................................ 5

Audience and tone.............................................................................................................. 9

Coherence ......................................................................................................................... 15

 

Unit 2

Critical Writing skills

Critical thinking & writing skills....................................................................................... 23

Academic writing assignments.......................................................................................... 31

The process of writing....................................................................................................... 36

Peer review and revision.................................................................................................... 41

 

Unit 3

Support in Expository Paragraphs

Thesis statements & topic sentences.................................................................................. 45

Relevant and convincing support...................................................................................... 49

Outlining skills................................................................................................................... 52

 

Unit 4

Using Sources

Citing sources. Direct quotation........................................................................................ 57

Paraphrasing...................................................................................................................... 60

Summarizing...................................................................................................................... 62

Plagiarism.......................................................................................................................... 65

Stating acknowledgements................................................................................................ 71

 

Unit 5

Essay development

An overview of essay development:

introduction, body, conclusion.......................................................................................... 73

 

Библиографический список.................................................................... 80

 

 

 

Unit1

English Academic Writing

Unit Topics:

Effective academic writing

Audience and tone

Coherence

Effective academic writing

Objectives In this unit you will: learn what academic writing is;
  share experiences in academic writing;
  study the rules of effective academic writing;
  learn different kinds of writing tasks.

Starting up

Ex. 1 Discuss the following questions with your colleagues to share experience in academic writing.

1. Are the rules for writing essays in your native language the same as or different from those for English writing?

2. What do you hope to learn about English academic writing in this course? (Think about the writing assignments you will have to do in your academic course work.)

3. What kinds of composition courses have you had up to now?

4. Is writing hard for you?

5. What would you like to improve in your writing skills?

 

Ex. 2 Which of the following written materials can be considered academic writing? Why?

- thesis - letter to a friend - invitation to a concert
- article - essay - summary
- resume - annotation - complaint letter
- message - presentation - annotation
- dissertation - fax - composition
- statement of purpose - invitation to a lecture - memo
- abstract - e-mail - annotated bibliography
- cover letter - outline - report
- competition entry - review - essay test

Ex. 3 Why should you get ahead in your academic writing? Choose the three most important tips from the list below. State your point of view.

  1. to know English better
  2. to manage my daily schedule
  3. to learn how to write academic papers
  4. to know how to synthesize information from a variety of sources
  5. to get extra qualification
  6. to learn to think logically
  7. to get critical-thinking skills
  8. to get one more certificate in English
  9. to learn English grammar better
  10. to have a good time in a company of clever guys

11. to get new acquaintances

12. to know what academic writing is

Introduction

Academic writing

Writing is necessary for all students in higher education. It is a process. It starts from understanding your task. It then goes on to doing the research and reading. The next stage is planning and writing various drafts. This is followed by proof-reading and editing. All this should lead to the final text.

Academic writing is a social practice. A social practice is what people do together. This means that you always write with a readership in mind. You always write with a purpose: to explain, to persuade, etc. It also means that what is right and wrong, appropriate or inappropriate is defined by the users in the social community. In your case these are other students, lecturers or examiners. There is nothing natural about the organization and the way language is used in a scientific report, for example. It is as it is because that is the way it has developed through centuries of use by practitioners. For that reason it has to be learned. No-one speaks (or writes) academic English as a first language. It must be learned by observation, study and experiment.

Academic writing is clearly defined by having a clear audience; a clear purpose, either an exam question to answer or a research project to report on. It is also clearly structured.

Academic writing in English is linear: - it starts at the beginning and finishes at the end, with every part contributing to the main line of argument, without digression or repetition. Whatever kind of writing you are producing, you, the writer, are responsible for making your line of argument clear and presenting it in an orderly fashion so that the reader can follow. Your written work should have the following sections: Preliminaries, Main text, End matter.

The preliminaries and end matter will depend on the kind of text you are writing. The main text will, however, generally contain an introduction, a main body and a conclusion. The introduction will usually consist of some background information, which will give the reason for the writing and explain, to some extent, how this will be done. This must be closely connected to the essay or research question. The main body will then contain some data - either experimental, from ideas or from reading - and some argument. This will then lead to the conclusion, which will refer back to the introduction and show that the purpose has been fulfilled. The actual form of the main body will depend on the type of writing.

(From http://www.uefap.com/writing/writfram.htm)

English Academic Writing

Academic writing is writing completed in a college or university setting for an academic audience consisting of professors, instructors, teaching assistants, and students. There are several features of English academic writing which make it of value for nonnative speakers to learn. Failure to master the rules for effective academic writing in this culture will affect the learner's success in a course. Effective English academic writing has three major characteristics. It has convincing content, clear organization, and effective use of the English language. First, the writing task has convincing content. To begin with, the content is informative and thought-provoking. The purpose of academic writing is to convey knowledge and understanding of a topic in a persuasive, formal, and objective manner. Such writing is not too general. In order to be convincing, academic writers in Western culture are expected to use specific and logical details, examples, facts, statistics, and case studies to support generalizations. Overly general and illogical content is not well received by professors. Second, the support is relevant. That is, the support relates directly to the thesis, which clearly presents the writer's topic, purpose, method, and opinion in an essay; and topic sentences, which do the same thing for each developmental paragraph in an essay. Writers are taught not to digress by telling stories or making "by the way" statements, which are out of tone with the assignment despite attempts to be creative and entertaining. All of the sentences contain well-thought-out ideas and relevant supporting points. Third, although objective, academic writing can be creative in that the writer is able to demonstrate effective critical-thinking skills. The content, that is, has depth of thought. The writer effectively analyzes the information, interprets the facts, makes judgments, draws conclusions, summarizes, and defends opinions. Shallow writing is indicative of weak critical-thinking skills, and such papers, often described as "sophomoric," receive low marks. Finally, any writing task has a clear purpose, which helps direct the reader, the audience. This is because the writer has clear objectives and strong control of the content. The message is clear, logical, and to the point. Indeed, papers with strong, unified support which demonstrates effective critical-thinking skills are well received by professors.
In addition to being convincing, effective academic writing in Western culture is well organized according to certain patterns and rules which may vary from culture to culture. The general pattern is described as linear because of the direct relationship between generalizations and their supporting points. Academic papers generally have a deductive approach, in which the generalization is stated first and then supported by specific details, examples, and other kinds of support. Sometimes, however, academic writers use an inductive approach, in which the specific support is given before the generalizations. English academic writing is also organized on the rhetorical level. There are several classical patterns used: narration, description, definition, process, classification, comparison, cause/effect, and argumentation. The pattern chosen is the method by which the writer will convey the content. This involves learning the organizational cues for the patterns and ways to order the support with these rhetorical devices. The success of a paper depends on how well the writer handles these organizational principles. Finally, good English academic writing demonstrates sophisticated use of the English language. First, academic tasks are clearly written at the sentence level. Organization is important not only at the rhetorical level; it is crucial at the sentence level. Disorganized sentences disrupt the flow of thought in a paper and interfere with the meaning of the passage. Frequent agreement errors, misspellings, incorrect punctuation, and other such problems also demonstrate lack of control of English and distract the reader. Second, style is important. Effective English academic writing demonstrates control over a variety of sentence types. In Western culture, complex and compound-complex sentences, which contain dependent clauses, are preferred in academic papers. Papers containing too many simple sentences and the conjunctions for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so are considered boring and unimaginative. A wide vocabulary range is another characteristic of effective academic writing. Because information is conveyed in content words, weak (basic) vocabulary demonstrates weak thinking. Since effective sentence organization and vocabulary contribute to the content of a paper, writers who have a command of the English language are more convincing than writers who cannot articulate complex ideas. In conclusion, if the professor's expectations are not met with regard to content, organization, and language, the papers may not be well received. Mastering the fundamentals of English academic writing will enable nonnative speakers to succeed in their academic studies. [777 words] (Kaplan, Robert B., " Cultural Thought Patterns in Intercultural Education" Language Learning, 2006)

Script 1

Ex.7 Alan Bradshaw is Lecturer in English at the University of Edinburg, where he counsels students and assesses their work every day. Listen to the Professor’s reasoning about the necessity of academic writing in high school, and then answer the question: What seems to be the speaker’s purposes: to inform, persuade, entertain, discuss, or what?

Ex. 8 Listen to the tape again and answer the questions:

  1. Why is writing necessary for all students in higher education?
  2. What are the stages of academic writing?
  3. Why academic writing is called a social practice?
  4. Why academic writing in English is called linear?
  5. What are the main parts of any written work?
  6. Which sections a written work should have? Describe each in short.

Script 2

In-class writing activity

In Writing Fiction: A Guide to the Narrative Craft, Janet Burroway wrote: "Remember. Writing is easy. Not writing is hard." Write a short organized response to this quotation by explaining two or three major reasons that writing is hard (or not hard) for you. Use details and examples to support your discussion. (150-200 words, every other line).

 

Vocabulary

essay hard course support
academic characteristic to target failure
assignment native speaker example to affect
response to convince to organize persuasive
quotation generalization thesis purpose
instructor opinion relevant skill
creative to interpret judgment sophomoric
content message pattern linear
deductive rhetorical narration description
definition to process classification argumentation
comparison to convey to convert to handle
sophisticated crucial to disrupt misspelling
punctuation lack of smth. imaginative to benefit
to master to look for fundamental bibliography

 

Audience and tone

ObjectivesIn this unit you will: define what the academic audience is;
  define the levels of formality (audience, tone, vocabulary, style,
  language, content, organization);
  determine appropriate levels of formality;
  learn what colloquial and formal English is;
  analyze what target audience is.

Starting up

Ex. 2 If you were writing an oral presentation, you would consider your audience and adjust your style accordingly. The same procedure applies to writing. Choose the most important characteristics your audience will influence your

- choice of vocabulary - the tone of the essay
- timbre of voice - manner of behavior
- sentence structure - the kind of language
- tempo of speech - the kind of evidence you use to support - appearance your thesis

Introduction

The Academic Audience

Another feature of effective academic writing is control of audience and tone, or formality. The audience is comprised of the reader(s) the writer is targeting or addressing a message to. In an academic course, the reader will be the professor and often the other students. In addition, there are other academic situations in which the assignment may directly or indirectly state who the audience will be. For example, a master’s degree candidate writing comprehensive exams knows that the audience consists of a committee of professors in his or her major. Also, a student applying for a scholarship usually has to write a statement of purpose, which will be read by the committee granting the scholarships. In each of these cases, the writing should be formal (serious and objective) and contain pertinent information the committee needs to know regarding why the candidate deserves to pass the comprehensive exam or get the scholarship. On the other hand, the same students writing letters to friends should choose an informal (intimate and friendly) style to describe their daily routines, personal problems, or travel plans.

As these cases show, addressing the audience with the correct level of formality helps the writers to connect with and persuade (or win) the audience. However, if the writers choose the wrong level of formality and language, they will probably alienate (or lose) their audiences. The committee members will consider the candidates disrespectful or immature (not academic material) if the language is too informal. In the same way, if the students use formal or technical language in their letters to friends, they may sound arrogant or condescending (superior to others).

Ex.5 Choose the correct words out of the given list to answer the following question: «When planning a paper addressed to or pertinent to a certain audience what factors are you to consider identifying the audience? ». State your point of view.

 

the audience’s age, hobbies, marital status, sex, social status, level of education, special interests or needs, profession, nationality, knowledge of French, weight, cultural or racial background, family members, feelings and attitudes, relationship to you, occupation

 

Ex. 6 There are many occasions when a student needs to be convincing and persuasive in writing for different reasons (purposes). Below there is a short list of some situations. Can you think out some more?

You are writing to fulfill an academic assignment, complete an essay test in your major, share information with family or friends, get a scholarship, solve a problem, apply for a job, borrow money from your father, persuade a publisher to publish your book, win a short-story contest, …

Listening

Script 3

Script 4

Introduction

Levels of Formality

There are different degrees of formality, but these descriptions should help you find the right level for academic writing. Academic writing can be technical, especially when the audience and situation require specialized knowledge. Formal academic writing is usually less technical because the audience and/or level of knowledge may be more general. Personal writing, however, can range from informal to colloquial, depending on the relationship the writer has with the reader and the situation. The closer the relationship between the writer and the audience, the more relaxed the language is. Therefore, the most informal discourse is colloquial (conversational).

The range of formality

Technical → Formal → Informal → Colloquial

  Technical / Formal (Academic) Informal / Colloquial (Personal)
Audience professors close friends and family
Tone formal, objective, serious informal, intimate, friendly
Vocabulary academic, a wide range, concise, accurate slang, idioms, contracted forms
Style complex (subordination), sentence variety may content frequent simple or compound sentences
Language few, if any, errors may content fragments, run-on sentences, misspellings, punctuation errors
Content depth of though, unified, tight, succinct conversational, may be repetitive
Organization clear, coherent, well planed may be less structured then formal writing

Examples

Your brother writes to you about his experiences as a college freshman. colloquial

You need to write a note for your professor, saying you had stopped by her office and want to make an appointment. formal

1. You need to write a seminar report for colleagues in your major field (other educators, other engineers, other sociologists).

2. Your friend needs to write a letter to his father, who fairly understands and with whom he is fairly close, explaining his poor grades.

3. You need to write a letter to your sponsor, explaining your poor grades and asking for more.

4. It is summer vacation, and you are writing a letter to your American roommate, who has not traveled much, persuading him or her to come to visit you in your country.

6. Your roommate is completing a term paper (a lengthy paper which usually takes several weeks and library research to complete) for a lower-level economics class.

7. You are writing comments on a peer review form for a classmate.

8. Your professor is writing an article on historical linguistics for The TESOL Journal.

9. You are writing about how to build a suspension bridge for an upper-level civil engineering course.

 

Essay Test Question

As you learned from the Kaplan article, people in different cultures have different approaches to writing. What do nonnative speakers need to know about the format rules in this culture? Write an essay in which you explain to nonnative speakers the rules for academic writing at universities in this culture. Be specific and informative.

Essay Test Answer 1

Professors in this culture have specific format rules. First, they want papers to be neat. This is true in other cultures too. But in our culture, we have to remember little things. Such as put the holes on the left, not the right. We also have to skip lines and leave the margin empty. Because the paper will be easy to read. Moreover, professors here want us to use only the front of the paper, not the back. We aren't supposed to flip the page over wrong. So what should be the top is used as the bottom, this is confusing. Second, a composition is supposed to be like a picture. The words are the picture and the margin is the frame. We think this is beautiful. But maybe people in other cultures think something else is beautiful. Cultures are different, nobody is right or wrong. Also, if my paper is sloppy, it looks like I did it at the last minute. Professors here expect us to pay attention to details. Not just with format but with spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. For example, one of my professors gave me a C, I had too many mistakes. Third, we have to type the right way. If a paper is typed wrong, our grade goes down. We have to double-space and leave spaces on the side. We also have to use font 12, not 15. If we use a computer to write our papers and print them, we have to make sure we tear the pages apart and put them in order. Professors do not like to do that for us. I think if nonnative speakers know these rules, they will do well with format. But they need to have interesting content, too. Because a paper won't get a good grade just because it looks nice. In conclusion, it won't be hard for nonnative speakers to learn these rules; they are easier than thinking of ideas. [324 words]

Essay Test Answer 2

Cultural differences regarding the presentation of an academic paper may not be significant, but nonnative speakers should be aware of the format rules they will be expected to follow in academic courses. First, effective academic writing in any culture looks polished and professional. In other words, it is well presented, not sloppy or illegible. Literally, the word "paragraph" means "picture of words." The completed writing assignment is pleasing to the eye and easy to read. Good writers care as much about the paper's appearance as its message. Writing a good paper takes effort, and the "format" of the paper is the wrapping on the gift. The professor will be more willing to appreciate the message if the presentation is pleasing to the eye. Such a paper demonstrates the writer's eye for detail in the completion of the paper, whereas a sloppy paper indicates a slip-shod job, perhaps a last-minute attempt. A paper that looks professional will not necessarily get an "A" in a university here, but a carelessly assembled, messy paper will be lucky to get a "D," especially if the content is poor. Although good academic writers in most cultures have high standards with respect to the pre­sentation of their writing, the format rules they follow may vary in other cultures. To begin with, the use of holes, lines, margins, and the paper space are different from culture to culture. For example, in some cultures, writers prefer the paper holes on the right, not the left. Thus, their front page is the back of the page in this culture. Moreover, writers in other cultures may not like to waste paper, so they fill all the space on a page, including the margins. Professors here, however, will expect empty margins and double spacing to allow room for comments and aid readability. Also, the pages should be clearly numbered and in order, and the back of the paper should not be used. If the back is used, the writing should not be upside down. The paper, therefore, should not be flipped over from the bottom; the top of the back page should correspond to the top of the front page, not the bottom. Finally, there are other format rules to learn regarding typed papers. Typed papers should be double-spaced in font 12. The margins should be adequate also. Professors expect the pages to be numbered, torn apart if printed, and handed in the correct order. In conclusion, nonnative speakers need to realize that, regardless of neatness, the format they are used to may be distracting to a professor here. Learning these rules is easier than learning how to compose a paper. [441 words]

Essay Test Answer 3

I'm going to write about the format rules for writing in school. I think good writing looks neat. What I mean is that it is not a piece of junk. My composition teacher said my paragraphs should be pictures. The paper is cool to look at. Easy to read if I do, I guess. I used to write yucky papers. But now I don't. Do you? I hear that format things are different everywhere. People use lines and stuff different all over the world. Weird. I guess people from other countries need to learn the same things as me. If they don't, they might turn their teacher off. Even if they are neat. Writing good papers are a pain. The "format" of the paper is a big deal. For my teachers, they will like my papers better if they look good. I care about the little things. That's what they think. A sloppy paper makes it look like I pulled an all-nighter. That's what I learned in my composition class. I want to write well. So that I don't get an F. Also, I shouldn't beat around the bush. I think that's all. [199 words]

Introduction (continuation)

The following chart provides examples of the types of expressions you should and should not use in academic writing.

Vocabulary

level assignment master’s degree comprehensive
formality committee to apply for formal
statement of purpose to deserve to influence daily routines evidence colloquial to grant
immature background to polish conversational
to persuade subordination coherent compound
arrogant to target superior certain

 

Coherence: point of view

ObjectivesIn this unit you will: discover what coherence is;
  learn what a good writing is;
  learn the characteristic features of effective academic writing;
  analyze what cohesive devices are;
  classify specialized linking words;
  learn different means of coherency;
  classify signaling words.

Starting up

Listening

Script 5

Ex. 1 Listen to the tape and answer the questions:

1. What is a good writing?

2. What is one of the most important aspects in a good writing?

3. Why is it so important to use particular types of words and phrases known as ‘cohesive devices’?

One Benefit of Travel

Passage A

First of all, travel will enable people to take a break. People always have a lot of work to do. Hard work and pressure make you feel tired and uncomfortable. We are not working machines. They need time to take breaks. Travel will enable you to relax. Also, travel will energize people to work better, especially computer programmers. They use their brains a lot every day. After a long time, they may become slow-witted. Under such a condition, you cannot work effectively. We need to find a place for a vacation. You need to see natural phenomena, instead of looking at computers all day. They will get energy from nature and then come back to work much more efficiently than before. I have experience with this. I have been to Buffalo. I saw a wonderful sight there. I saw Niagara Falls. I looked up at it. It seemed to fall from the sky. It was very beautiful. You could feel the power coming from the falls. You were inspired to do your work. [173 words]

Passage B

First of all, travel will enable people to take a break. Because people always have a lot of work to do, sometimes hard work and pressure make them feel tired and uncomfortable. People are not working machines. Therefore, they need time to take breaks, and travel will enable them to relax. Also, travel will energize people to work better, especially computer programmers, who use their brains a lot every day. After a long time, they may become slow-witted. Under such a condition, they cannot work effectively, so they need to find a place for a vacation where they can see natural phenomena instead of looking at computers all day. They will get energy from nature and then come back to work much more efficiently than before. For example, travel helped me overcome burnout. To relax from my stressful job as a computer programmer, I went to Buffalo, where I saw a wonderful sight, Niagara Falls. When I looked up at the falls, the gushing water seemed to fall from the sky, and I could feel its power. The sight was so beautiful that I was more inspired to do my work. [191 words] (Adapted with permission, Yunhai Yang, Taiwanese)

Introduction

Coherence

Upon comparing the above two passages, you probably discovered that you preferred the second passage because it sounded smoother; that is, the ideas seemed to flow together well. The first passage has a very good progression from general to specific, yet there is only one idea in many of the sentences, causing the passage to sound choppy. Moreover, the control of point of view and pronouns is weak, causing confusion about who the audience is. The revision, however, shows more complexity in that the ideas are organized into complex and compound-complex sentences, creating a smoother flow of ideas from one sentence to another. As a result, the second passage is easier to understand at both the general and specific levels. Moreover, the relevance of the example is enhanced with improvement in vocabulary use. The control of pronouns and point of view and the repetition of key content words reinforce the writer's opinion about travel, making the example more relevant.

This book will provide practice with coherence devices to teach you how to make your writing sound fluent and cohesive. Learning effective coherence devices will enable you to improve your writing at both the sentence and paragraph levels.

"To cohere" means "to stick together"; "to be connected naturally or logically, by a common principle; to be consistent"; and "to become or stay united in action; to be in accord." Effective English writing is coherent; that is, the sentences follow each other smoothly and logically. In addition, the relationships between the ideas in the composition are clear to the reader. For example, the reader is able to locate the main ideas and sort out the examples. The time relationships and other forms of chronological order (steps, stages) are also clear. Old ideas link with new ideas, and pronouns are used correctly. Vocabulary, moreover, is well chosen to aid in the development of the content at every level.

(Adapted from http://www.uefap.com/writing/exercise/parag/paragex12.htm)

Introduction (continuation)

It is the responsibilities of the writer in English to make it clear to the reader how various parts of the paragraph are connected. These connections can be made explicit grammatically and lexically by the use of different reference words. Every text has a structure. It is not just a random collection of sentences. The parts that make up the text are related in a meaningful way to each other. In order to make these relationships in the text clear, it is necessary to show how the sentences are related. Words like "it", "this", "that", "here", "there" etc. refer to other parts of the text. You need to understand how to use these connections or links.

There are four main types of links used in academic texts: reference, ellipsis and substitution, conjunction and lexical cohesion.

Reference

Certain items of language in English have the property of reference. That is, they do not have meaning themselves, but they refer to something else for their meaning.

Example The scientific study of memory began in the early 1870s when a German philosopher, Hermann Ebbinghaus, came up with the revolutionary idea that memory could be studied experimentally. In doing so he broke away from a 2000-year-old tradition that firmly assigned the study of memory to the philosopher rather than to the scientist. He argued that the philosophers had come up with a wide range of possible interpretations of memory but had produced no way of deciding which amongst these theories offered the best explanation of memory. He aimed to collect objective experimental evidence of the way in which memory worked in the hope that this would allow him to choose between the various theories.

In this text "he" and "him" refers to "Hermann Ebbinghaus". In order to create such a text, you need to use these words correctly in the text.

Example These theories all stem from some underlying assumptions about people. To a large extent unproven, they tend to represent the dominant mood or climate of opinion at that time. Schein has classified them as follows, and it is interesting to note that the categories follow each other in a sort of historical procession, starting from the time of the industrial revolution.

Other words used in this way are "him", "it", "this", "that", "these", "those", "here", "there" etc.

Substitution and ellipsis

Substitution is the replacement of one item by another and ellipsis is the omission of the item. If writers wish to avoid repeating a word, they can use substitution or ellipsis.

ExampleThe scientific study of memory began in the early 1870s when a German philosopher, Hermann Ebbinghaus, came up with the revolutionary idea that memory could be studied experimentally. In doing so he broke away from a 2000-year-old tradition that firmly assigned the study of memory to the philosopher rather than to the scientist. He argued that the philosophers had come up with a wide range of possible interpretations of memory but had produced no way of deciding which amongst these theories offered the best explanation of memory. He aimed to collect objective experimental evidence of the way in which memory worked in the hope that this would allow him to choose between the various theories.

The writer has substituted "studying memory experimentally" with "so". Other words that can be used are "one", "ones", "do", "so", "not".

Ellipsis is substitution by zero.

Example Some of the water which falls as rain flows on the surface as streams. Another part is evaporated. The remainder sinks into the ground and is known as ground water.

"Another part" means "Another part of the water" and "The remainder" means "The remainder of the water".

Conjunction

Conjunction shows meaningful relationships between clauses. It shows how what follows is connected to what has gone before.

Example The whole Cabinet agreed that there should be a cut in the amount that the unemployed were receiving; where they disagreed was in whether this should include a cut in the standard rate of benefit. The opposition parties, however, were unwilling to accept any programme of economies which did not involve a cut in the standard rate of benefit.

The word "however" shows that this statement is opposite to the ideas that have come before. Other words used are "for example", "as a consequence of this", "firstly"," furthermore", "in spite of this", etc.

Lexical cohesion

This is a way of achieving a cohesive effect by the use of particular vocabulary items. You can refer to the same idea by using the same or different words.

Example Patients who repeatedly take overdoses pose considerable management difficulties. The problem-orientated approach is not usually effective with such patients. When a patient seems to be developing a pattern of chronic repeats, it is recommended that all staff engaged in his or her care meet to reconstruct each attempt in order to determine whether there appears to be a motive common to each act.

For cohesion to occur, it is not necessary for each word to refer to exactly the same item or even be grammatically equivalent. All the words related to "debt" contribute to the cohesion.

Example In each of these cases the basic problem is the same: a will has been made, and in it a debtor is left a legacy of liberation from what he owes the testator. The question is, if he has subsequently borrowed more from the testator, up to what point he has been released from his debts. It is best to begin with the second case. Here there is a straightforward legacy to the debtor of a sum of money and also of the amount of his debt to the testator. This is followed by a clause in which there is a general damnation and also a general trust that the legacies in the will be paid. The debtor goes on to borrow more money, and the question is whether that is taken to be included in the legacy too. The response is that since the words relate to the past, later debts are not included.

Other commonly used are "repetition", "synonyms" and "near synonyms", "collocations", "super/sub-ordinate relationships" (e.g. fruit/apple, animal/cat) etc.

Anaphoric nouns

Another useful way to show the connection between the ideas in a paragraph is what is called anaphoric nouns. Look at the following text:

ExampleMoulds do not usually grow fast, and conditions had to be found in which large quantities of Penicillium notatum could be produced as quickly as they were wanted. The solution to this problem was helped by N. G. Heatley, a young biochemist also from Hopkins's laboratory in Cambridge, who had been prevented by the outbreak of war from going to work in the Carlsberg laboratories in Copenhagen.

The phrase "this problem" summarizes the text in the first sentence and thus provides the connection between the two sentences.

ExampleGenetics deals with how genes are passed on from parents to their offspring. A great deal is known about the mechanisms governing this process.

The phrase "this process" summarizes the first sentence.

The phrase: This/these + noun is very useful in showing the connection between sentences and therefore in making sure that the paragraph flows. Other nouns typically used in this way are: "account, advice, answer, argument, assertion, assumption, claim, comment, conclusion, criticism, description, difficultly, discussion, distinction, emphasis, estimate, example, explanation, fall, finding, idea, improvement, increase, observation, proof, proposal, reference, rejection, report, rise, situation, suggestion, view, warning".

(http://www.uefap.com/writing/exercise/parag/paragex12.htm)

Ex.5 Identify the references in the following texts:

Exercise a

We all tend to complain about our memories. Despite the elegance of the human memory system, it is not infallible, and we have to learn to live with its fallibility. It seems to be socially much more acceptable to complain of a poor memory, and it is somehow much more acceptable to blame a social lapse on 'a terrible memory', than to attribute it to stupidity or insensitivity. But how much do we know about our own memories? Obviously we need to remember our memory lapses in order to know just how bad our memories are. Indeed one of the most amnesic patients I have ever tested was a lady suffering from Korsakoff's syndrome, memory loss following chronic alcoholism. The test involved presenting her with lists of words; after each list she would comment with surprise on her inability to recall the words, saying: «I pride myself on my memory! ». She appeared to have forgotten just how bad her memory was.

 

B Identify examples of substitution and ellipsis in these texts:

Exercise b

The human memory system is remarkably efficient, but it is of course extremely fallible. That being so, it makes sense to take full advantage of memory aids to minimize the disruption caused by such lapses. If external aids are used, it is sensible to use them consistently and systematically - always put appointments in your diary, always add wanted items to a shopping list, and so on. If you use internal aids such as mnemonics, you must be prepared to invest a reasonable amount of time in mastering them and practicing them. Mnemonics are like tools and cannot be used until forged. Overall, however, as William James pointed out (the italics are mine):«Of two men with the same outward experiences and the same amount of mere native tenacity, the one who thinks over his experiences most and weaves them into systematic relations with each other will be the one with the best memory».

 

Exercise c

This conflict between tariff reformers and free traders was to lead to the "agreement to differ" convention in January 1932, and the resignation of the Liberals from the government in September 1932; but, until they resigned, the National Government was a genuine coalition in the sense in which that term is used on the continent: a government comprising independent yet conflicting elements allied together, a government within which party conflict was not superseded but rather contained - in short, a power-sharing government, albeit a seriously unbalanced one.

 

Exercise d

The number of different words relating to "camel" is said to be about six thousand. There are terms to refer to riding camels, milk camels and slaughter camels; other terms to indicate the pedigree and geographical origin of the camel; and still others to differentiate camels in different stages of pregnancy and to specify in-numerable other characteristics important to a people so dependent upon camels in their daily life.

Exercise e

There were, broadly, two interrelated reasons for this, the first relating to Britain's economic and imperial difficulties, the second to the internal dissension in all three parties.

 

Exercise f

These two forms of dissent coalesced in the demand for a stronger approach to the Tory nostrum of tariff reform. In addition, trouble threatened from the mercurial figure of Winston Churchill, who had resigned from the Shadow Cabinet in January 1931 in protest at Baldwin's acceptance of eventual self-government for India.

 

D Identify examples of lexical cohesion in the following text:

Exercise g

The clamor of complaint about teaching in higher education and, more especially, about teaching methods in universities and technical colleges, serves to direct attention away from the important reorientation which has recently begun. The complaints, of course, are not unjustified. In dealing piece-meal with problems arising from rapidly developing subject matter, many teachers have allowed courses to become over-crowded, or too specialized, or they have presented students with a number of apparently unrelated courses failing to stress common principles. Many, again, have not developed new teaching methods to deal adequately with larger numbers of students, and the new audio-visual techniques tend to remain in the province of relatively few enthusiasts despite their great potential for class and individual teaching.

(http://www.uefap.com/writing/exercise/parag/paragex12.htm)

 

Introduction (continuation)

Signaling

It is the responsibilities of the writer in English to make it clear to the reader how various parts of the paragraph are connected. These connections can be made explicit by the use of different signaling words. For example, if you want to tell your reader that your line of argument is going to change, make it clear.

ExampleThe Bristol 167 was to be Britain's great new advance on American types such as the Lockheed Constellation and Douglas DC-6, which did not have the range to fly the Atlantic non-stop. It was also to be the largest aircraft ever built in Britain. However, even by the end of the war, the design had run into serious difficulties.

If you think that one sentence gives reasons for something in another sentence, make it explicit.

ExampleWhile an earlier generation of writers had noted this feature of the period, it was not until the recent work of Cairncross that the significance of this outflow was realized. Partly this was because the current account deficit appears much smaller in current (1980s) data than it was thought to be by contemporaries.

If you think two ideas are almost the same, say so.

ExampleMarx referred throughout his work to other systems than the capitalist system, especially those which he knew from the history of Europe to have preceded capitalism; systems such as feudalism, where the relation of production was characterized by the personal relation of the feudal lord and his serf and a relation of subordination which came from the lord's control of the land. Similarly, Marx was interested in slavery and in the classical Indian and Chinese social systems, or in those systems where the ties of local community are all important.

If you intend your sentence to give extra information, make it clear.

ExampleHe is born into a family, he marries into a family, and he becomes the husband and father of his own family. In addition, he has a definite place of origin and more relatives than he knows what to do with, and he receives a rudimentary education at the Canadian Mission School.

If you are giving examples, do it explicitly.

ExampleThis has sometimes led to disputes between religious and secular clergy, between orders and bishops. For example, in the Northern context, the previous bishop of Down and Connor, Dr Philbin, refused for most of his period of leadership in Belfast to have Jesuits visiting or residing in his diocese.

(http://www.uefap.com/writing/exercise/parag/paragex12.htm)

Signaling words



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