2 E.g., Hughes (1996.32-34), comparing writing to speech: Background: Generally accepted claims about writing in comparison/contrast to speechComplexElaboratedExplicit in meaningE.g., Hughes ( ), comparing writing to speech:longer and more complex clausesfull phrases and clauses with little abbreviation or ellipsisexplicit and varied marking of clause relationsexplicit presentation of ideasexplicit indication of text organization
3 Elaboration and/or explicitness as a characteristic of academic research writing Li & Ge (2009): “a more elaborate presentation of the data-analysis procedures may serve to strengthen the […] accuracy (e.g. clearer, precise) […] of the Results section […] “ (p. 98)Hyland (2008: 11, 16): “Here then we see the emphasis of the soft knowledge fields on […] identifying and elaborating relationships in argument” “This reflects the more discursive and evaluative patterns of argument in the soft knowledge fields, where persuasion is more explicitly interpretative […] The presentation of research is therefore altogether more discursively elaborate, […]”Hyland & Tse (2005): […] in academic writing […] elaborated structures are generally preferred as they facilitate the readers’ understanding of the text. (p. 127)
4 Elaboration and/or explicitness as a characteristic of student academic writing Wright (2008): “Students [writing chemistry lab reports] engage in elaborated discourse with a high degree of specificity […] Once they have focused on salient data and evidence, elaborated forms of discourse arrange information into more complex and explicit representations reflective of canonical scientific ideas.” (p. 292)Keen (2004): “Myhill (1999) identifies elaboration and use of subordination as features which tend to characterise high quality Grade A writing […]” (p. 95)“The redrafting process facilitates “ progressively more extended clause planning and greater elaboration.” (p. 96)
5 Major goals of the talkChallenge all three generalizations about the language of academic prose:Complex: Not according to traditional measures.There is actually more clausal embedding in conversationElaborated: actually more 'compressed' than 'elaborated'.Explicit: academic style has evolved to become increasingly less explicit in the expression of grammatical and textual relations
6 Is Biber saying that academic writing is not complex? Yes and No. Yes: The grammatical characteristics usually used to measure complexity are not typical of academic writing. Conversation is actually more ‘complex’ if we consider those features But no, academic discourse is complex in its use of other grammatical features
7 Why does this matter for language pedagogy? Teaching EAP writing: Many books emphasize grammatical features that are not actually characteristic of academic writingTesting (and researching) writing development: usually emphasizes grammatical measures that are not actually relevant for academic writing
8 ‘Complexity’ and 'Elaboration‘ (1) Elaboration, clausal subordination, and grammatical complexity are usually linked in linguistic theory.A ‘simple’ clause has only a subject, verb, and object or complement. A ‘simple’ noun phrase has a determiner and head noun.‘Elaboration’ = structural additions, resulting in ‘complex’ grammar
9 ‘Complexity’ and 'Elaboration‘ (2) Descriptive linguists: dependent clauses are the most important measure of grammatical complexity (often contrasted with ‘simple’ clauses; see e.g., Huddleston 1984: 378; Willis 2003: 192; Purpura 2004: 91; Carter & McCarthy 2006: 489).Researchers on writing development: dependent clause measures (see Brown et al. 2005; Ellis & Yuan, 2004; Larsen-Freeman, 2006; Nelson & Van Meter, 2007; Li, 2000; Norrby & Håkansson, 2007)Wolfe-Quintero et al. (1998: 118-9): measures based on dependent clauses are the “best […] complexity measures so far”
11 Major corpora for the study ConversationSynchronic: Longman Network; 713 texts; 4,175,000 wordsDiachronic: Drama : ARCHER, 75 texts; c. 75,000 wordsScience/medical academic research articlesSynchronic: 20th c. science research articles, 1965, 1985, 2005: 155 texts, 655,000 wordsDiachronic:ARCHER, : 160 texts; c. 160,000 wordsCorpus of English Texts on Astronomy (A Coruña), : 42 texts; c. 400,000 words
12 'Elaboration' featuresContractions and 'incomplete sentences' are common in conversation; rare in academic writing:A: Of course he gets mad cos he can't smoke cos we always take non-smoking.B: Oh well.But structural compression is much more prevalent than structural elaboration in academic writingPhrasal embedding is much more common than clausal embedding
13 ‘Elaboration' features: Dependent clauses Overall, dependent clauses are actually more common in speech than in academic writing – especially finite dependent clauses functioning as clausal constituentsAdverbial clauses are more common in speechSo she can blame someone else if it doesn't work.Complement clauses are more common in speechI don’t know how they do itPost-nominal clauses are more common in academic writingthe quantity of waste that falls into this category …The results shown in Tables IV and V add to the picture …
15 Examples from conversation I just don’t know[if that’s[what he wants] ]But I don't think[we would want[to have it[sound like[it's coming from us] ] ] ]
16 ConversationGayle: And Dorothy said Bob's getting terrible with, with the smoking. Uh, he's really getting defiant about it because there are so many restaurants where you can't smoke and he just gets really mad and won't go to them.[…]Peter: Well they, they had a party. I forget what it was. They had it at a friend's house. I can't remember why it wasn't at their house any way. And they had bought a bottle of Bailey's because they knew I liked Bailey's.Gayle: I can't remember who it was. One of us kids.Peter: Oh. I'll tell you I think the biggest change in me is since I had my heart surgery.Gayle: Really? Yeah I guess my, I mean I know my surgery was a good thing butPeter: <?> It makes you think. You realize it can happen to you.
17 ‘Compression' features: Dependent phrases Embedded phrases (non-clausal) are extremely common in academic writingFor example:Each new level [of system differentiation] opens up space [for further increases [in complexity] ].Attributive adjectivesnew level, further increasesNouns as pre-modifiers of a head nounsystem differentiationPost-nominal prepositional phraseslevel [of system differentiation]space [for further increases [in complexity]
19 Academic writing: Noun phrases with non-clausal modifiers This patterning [of behavior] [by households] [on other households] takes time.This may indeed be part [of the reason [for the statistical link [between schizophrenia and membership [in the lower socioeconomic classes] ] ] ].In conclusion, it is suggested that the interspike intervals [in a burst] and the silent intervals [between bursts] are two important determinants [of the effectiveness [of the burst pattern] [in promoting neuropeptide release] ].
20 Differing complexities in speech versus academic writing Favored in conversation Favored in academic writingParameter A: Structural typefinite dependent clauses vs. dependent phrases (non-clausal)Parameter B: Syntactic functionstructures that are vs. structures that areconstituents in clauses constituents in noun phrases
21 Intermediate complexity features E.g., nonfinite clauses as clause constituents; finite clauses as noun phrase constituentsSyntactic function is more important than structural type:Clause constituents are preferred in conversation, even when they are nonfinite dependent clauses and non-clausal phrasesNoun phrase constituents are preferred in writing
23 Dimension 1 in Multi-Dimensional studies of English 1988 general spoken and written registers2006 university spoken and written registers
24 StudyCorpusLinguistic features on Dimension 1Biber 1988spoken and written registers1st and 2nd person pronouns, other pro. present tense, mental verbs, modals, emphatics, hedges,verb+that-complement clauses (usually with 0 complementizer), causative adverbial clauses,WH-clausesversusnouns, prepositions, attributive adjectives, long words, type/token ratioBiber 2006university spoken and written registerscontractions, demonstrative pronouns, it, 1st person pronouns, present tense, time advs, that-omission, WH-questions, etc.,verb+that-complement clauses (usually with 0 complementizer), WH-clauses,adverbial clauses: causative, conditional, othernominalizations, long words, nouns, prepositions, abstract nouns, attributive adjectives, passives, stance noun + to-clause, etc.
25 General English Dimension 1 (1988 study) INVOLVED| TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONSFACE-TO-FACE CONVERSATIONS////////Personal letters, SPONTANEOUS SPEECHES| PREPARED SPEECHES, Romance fiction0 +| General fiction, Professional letters| BROADCASTS‑5 +| Science fiction| Humor‑ Popular lore; Editorials; Hobbies| Biographies| Press reviews‑ Academic prose; Press reportage|| Official documents‑20 +INFORMATIONAL
26 Measuring complexity for writing development: t-unit length and clauses per t-unit Conversation eg:Well, since he got so upset, I just didn’t think we would want to wait for Tina to come back.t-unit length: 20Academic writing eg:This may be part of the reason for the statistical link between schizophrenia and membership in the lower socioeconomic classes.
27 Measuring complexity for writing development: t-unit length and clauses per t-unit [cont.] Conversation:Well [since he got so upset], I just didn’t think[we would want[to wait for[Tina to come back] ] ]main verb: thinknumber of dependent clauses per t-unit: 4
28 Measuring complexity for writing development: T-unit length and clauses per t-unit [cont.] Academic writing:This may be part of the reason for the statistical link between schizophrenia and membership in the lower socioeconomic classes.main verb: benumber of dependent clauses per t-unit: 0
29 Diachronic change towards compressed (less elaborated) phrasal structures in the noun phrase Increasingly dense use of non-clausal modificationAcademic writing has been the most innovative / receptive to change
32 ExplicitnessConversation: Inexplicit (situation-dependent) references to objects, places, and times are commonrare in writingAcademic writing: Inexplicit marking of meaning relationships: among syntactic constituents and textual elementsin the noun phrasespreading to other structures?increase in use historically
33 Non-explicit references in speech (classroom teaching) Situation-dependent or vague reference marked in yellowInstructor: What I want you to do in your free writes is kind of reflect on what do you think he means here. Maybe - and what you could answer is would you want to live in that kind of place. Would you want to live there? And if you do, Why? and do not, Why? And how does Rymmer give you clues? -- I think Rymmer, especially in a poem like this, he talks about this hollowness at his core, sort of the absence of the bona fide, legitimate purpose to the whole thing. I think clues like this are embedded throughout that suggest that Rymmer's pretty negative, or skeptical about this whole project, right? And what I wanna know is, if you do want to live there, why is that, and if you don't, what is it about Rymmer's writing, or Rymmer's ideas that lead you to believe that you wouldn't want to live there.
34 Inexplicit marking of syntactic relations in writing: Noun phrases Heavy use of nominalization(Halliday 1979; Halliday and Martin 1993)States the action, not explicit that someone actsBut noun modification is even more important:dense use of phrasal modification, where the relationship between the head noun and the modifier is implicit, rather than being stated explicitlyPre-modifiers: NounsPost-modifiers:non-finite clausesprepositional phrasesappositive noun phrases
35 Inexplicit meaning relations in the noun phrase: Nouns as pre-modifiers Compare:family history history about a person's familyheart disease disease located in the heartalcohol consumption process of consuming alcoholprison officials officials who work in a prisoncomputer keyboard a keyboard used with a computercomputation time time required to compute somethingretail outlet outlet which sells retail merchandiseunion assets assets belonging to a unionpressure hose hose able to withstand pressurepressure ratio ratio measuring pressure
36 Inexplicit meaning relations in the noun phrase: Prepositional phrases as post-modifiers Another reason to use Ohio as a surrogate [for the country as a whole] is that the data base [for hazardous waste generation and flow] [for the State] is fairly good.a surrogate for the country as a whole a surrogate that represents the country as a wholethe data base for hazardous waste generation the data base that documents hazardous waste generationthe data base … for the State the data base that the State uses
37 Inexplicit meaning relations in the noun phrase: Prepositional phrases as post-modifiers  farms in Malaysia farms that are located in Malaysiavariation in the quality of water the way in which the quality of water variesexperiments in agricultural chemistry experiments that focused on the study of agricultural chemistrythe roots on the surface roots which are on top of the surfacerestrictions on underground injection of chemicals rules that restrict the underground injection of chemicalswriters on style writers who discuss style
38 20th c.; Appositive NPs in academic writing (1) Coreferential, marked with parentheses:In four cohorts (Athens, Keio, Mayo, and Florence), investigators stated that…We present the results of the International Meta - analysis of Mortality Impact of Systemic Sclerosis (IMMISS)
39 20th c.; Appositive NPs in academic writing (2) NOT coreferential, or coreferential but providing technical definition:… depending on whether enrollment (first cohort visit) occurred within 6 months of the first physician diagnosis of systemic sclerosis (incident case) or whether diagnosis had preceded the first visit by >6 months (prevalent case).Analyses that included all cases in each center (n=3311; total follow-up: 19,990 person-years) yielded largely similar results.All cohorts showed significantly increased standardized mortality ratios (figure 1) .Our Girnock analysis (fig. 2a) shows that late autumn and winter (day 240 onwards) was the only period when…
40 Inexplicit meaning relations in the noun phrase: Appositive noun phrases (2) Compare:Our Girnock analysis (fig. 2a) shows that late autumn and winter (day 240 onwards) was the only period when…vs.Our Girnock analysis shows that late autumn and winter was the only period when…+The results of the Girnock analysis are presented in Figure 2.For the purposes of our study, we defined 'late autumn and winter' as day 240 onwards.
41 Inexplicit meanings outside of the noun phrase? Signaling the meaning relations among clauseslinking adverbials vs colons(APA prohibition of numbered sections)
43 Conclusions: A more 'complex' picture of academic writing yes, in specific ways: nominal modifiers, non-finite clauses, phrasal embeddingbut not in the overall frequency of dependent clausesElaborated:yes, in that it avoids contractions and fragmentsbut 'compressed' grammatical structures are more prevalent than elaborated structuresExplicit in the expression of meaning:yes, in that it avoids pronouns and other situation-dependent referencesbut many logical relations among elements in the text are implicit; requires expert background knowledge to understand