Presentation on theme: "Writing at postgraduate level Dr. Rosemary Wilson Dept. of Applied Linguistics and Communication Postgraduate Orientation: September 2012."— Presentation transcript:
Writing at postgraduate level Dr. Rosemary Wilson Dept. of Applied Linguistics and Communication Postgraduate Orientation: September 2012
Academic writing in English keeps to the focus of the task/question sets out the writers point of view develops and investigates one point at a time moves from one point to the next to develop that point of view
Key features of academic writing in English Ideas are presented in a logical order supported with evidence presented objectively expressed following the conventions of academic language
What is the structure of academic writing in English? This is what I am going to say. Here I am saying it. That is what I said.
So an essay has… Introduction – general statements to provide a context/background and your thesis statement /focus Body: a series of linked paragraphs developing the focus that you stated in your introduction Conclusion: a summary of what you have said; possible speculation on the issues you have raised
So the paragraph has… Topic sentence: what the paragraph is about Development of this point with supporting evidence Summary (and link to the next paragraph)
And the next paragraph has… Topic sentence linking back to the previous paragraph Development with supporting evidence Summary (and link to the next paragraph)
Example: paragraph structure The term bilingualism is used in linguistics to refer to speaking two languages and its definition is a matter of debate related to individual language competency…. (development + sources) Although monolingual speakers are now in the minority worldwide (Graddol 1997), there is still a popular view that the ultimate attainment, to use Cooks term, is to achieve native-speaker competence. The kind of popular image of bilinguals that Cook discourages is that of individuals who are equally competent in both languages and indistinguishable from a native speaker in both.
Example: linking points The studies described above incorporated ratings by independent observers to a greater or lesser extent, as well as the participants own narratives or self-report inventories….. So far, the studies described have taken as their participants groups of bilinguals and focused on aspects of their language use at the point in time of the particular study, with little reference to their preceding language learning histories. We shall now consider personal accounts, both written and oral, of individual language learning histories and the effect of the process on self- perception.
Citation as support for a statement We each have at our disposal a verbal repertoire from which we select different varieties in different situations for different purposes (Trudgill 1983).
Direct quotation within a sentence Cook (2002) goes further and suggests that the term bilingual has so many contradictory definitions and associations that it seems best to avoid it whenever possible (2002: 4), offering instead the term L2 user.
Longer direct quotations Comparison of the scores of individuals suggested that they tended to retain their position in the group but the results for the whole of the group shifted, thus: an extravert does not suddenly become an introvert as she switches languages; instead a bilingual becomes more extraverted when she speaks English than Spanish. (Ramirez-Esparza et al 2006: 115) An interesting explanation offered for these findings is the tendency to self-enhancement…
Weaving in your source In one of her most autobiographical works, Nord Perdu (Huston 1999), she notes that her immersion in a new culture brings home to her aspects of her personality of which she had not previously been aware. She notes that she found an unexpected Puritanism in herself when faced with thefarniente of Provence and the southern Mediterranean. But le plus gros morceau, the biggest bit, is the language. When she makes an error in the gender of a noun, for example, she notes with terror that her interlocutors spot the vrai vous and accuse her: Ah, cest que vous êtes un ALIEN! Vous venez dun autre pays et vous cherchez nous le cacher, à vous travestir en Français, en francophone.. (Huston 1999: 33) (Aha! Youre really an ALIEN! You come from another country and youre trying to hide it from us and pretend to be French and a French speaker.) Huston is part of a long literary tradition of writers who have chosen to write in French even though it is not their first language. An extreme example is the French novelist Romain Gary…
What can I do to make my writing more academic? Note how the ideas in the books and articles that you read on your course are presented and expressed Invest in two very useful little books in the Palgrave Macmillan Pocket Study Skills series (£5.99 each!) Writing for University (K. Williams) Getting Critical (J. Godfrey) Enrol for a short course at Birkbeck focussing on writing: Academic Writing for Postgraduates (one term) Academic Writing for Native Speakers (one term)
And finally….. Remember that writing is a process of drafting, redrafting, revising and editing and so takes time.