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Lecture 3 academic writing in english

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  • The introductory paragraph with its thesis statement has set out the direction of the essay. Based on this you write an outline of the rest of the essay: Introduction (10% of total number of words) Main body (more than 1 paragraph; within the scope of their expository essay anything between 5 and 8 is more likely) Conclusion (10 – 15 % of total number of words) The essay plan on the next two slides is for an argumentative essay, but it still shows very well what an outline should look like, and how it is organised. It is not written out in full sentences and can even be shorter than this just using key words.
  • A-D. they give you a structure. A-C are positive points. D is a negative one.
  • (4) Thesis sentence Problematic in this paragraph: Use of first person singular ‘ I ’; first sentence: ‘ great story ’ Ask students how they would proceed: in the essay (follow link) each theme gets a paragraph in the body. source: http://academicenglishcafe.com/ModelEssay5.aspx Ask wtudents where the thesis statement is. Then go to next slide
  • Answers the question of how the novel used the three themes: by modeling the positive actions of the main characters. In the three paragraphs that went before, each devoted to a theme, this was explainied. So the structure is very clear: Introduction with funnel structure, leading to a thesis statement. In TS reader is given three themes. Each of these theses are dealt with in one paragraph. Each paragraph thus devoted to one ides. Then a concl;usion, brief and luxit. Ask: what type of essay was this: an expository essay.
  • Funnel shaped: (1) Background statement about the general topic of the essay. (2) thesis statement to focus on the specific argument to be dealt with in the essay. (3) Outline statement to signal what will be covered in the essay. source: http://www.une.edu.au/tlc/aso/aso-online/academic-writing/sample-essay.php
  • Sentence 1 relates back to the thesis statement. Rest of paragraph shows that this was an argumentative essay, discussing advantages and disadvantages of assignment essays in tertiary education. It is persuasive, asking the reader to adopt the same position.
  • The main pitfall for students is to repeat literally what has already been said. Now think about the effect that will have on the reader: it is almost always negative, and that is precisely what you want to avoid. Again, the best strategy is to put the original away, and write down a summary focusing on the main points and arguments. Keep the summary relatively short, but dedicate more sentences to the implications for the future or for further research; offer recommendations; or show the relevance this study will have in a wider field.
  • Inexperienced writers sometimes create one block of text with several ideas within it. So the moment you see one block of text (sometimes a page long), you already know it has not been organised into paragraphs. Nowadays, block paragraphs are most often used rather than indented ones. As always, one needs to be consistent: you use either the one or the other, but not a combination of both. Organisation typically follows this pattern: the topic sentence always comes first, followed by a further explanation (or a definition), and then one can choose either illustration plus clarification or v.v. More on coherence in the next slide.
  • In the paragraph above, the main idea is set in the first sentence, which suggests that the paragraph will explore the socio-cultural reasons for the popularity of zombies in popular culture. The paragraph goes on to list some popular zombie media, and then veers off into discussing cable programming. Although some of these ideas may be tangentially related to zombies and popular culture
  • More on linking words and phrases, and summary words in the next two slides. The first 4 factors listed here that create coherence within a paragraph, also work between paragraphs.
  • The paragraph above is incoherent because it lacks unity: brain drain (red) and monopoly (green, only used once), Canadian dollar (blue, relation to rest unclear). lacks variety in sentence structure. ‘ Brain drain ’ is a bad thing. Our greatest resources are leaving. organizes ideas illogically, lacks transitions that show the connections between ideas: ( Brain drain ’ is a bad thing. Our greatest resources are leaving. not necessarily linked: Better: Brain drain is bad because this results in fewer resources in Canada). Another example: I like him. He buys me icecreams. Presupposes a logical relationship, but you need to make it explicit). alternates between formal and informal style (If the dollar doesn’t stay strong, it will hurt us). uses both third person and first person point of view inappropriately: Looks like the first sentence is a third-person point of vies, but rest seem like opinions of the writer, put in a type of first person. See next sheet for better rewrite:
  • First sentence: brain ndrain and monopoly. Then explanation of brain drain. The bhow this comes about: because of industry monopolies. Conclusion: Canadian companies are beaten by American ones, because they are stronger. Dollar no longer figures in this, although that may be a reason: Am companies probably pay moere. This could be a topic for the next paragraph.
  • Summary words typically occur together with the word this . I strongly believe that there is value in asking students to find more summary words themselves in the articles or textbooks that they will be reading, as this enhances their awareness of them. If you do want to give them a list, however, here are some more (this list is not extensive): This process, technique This improvement, increase, influx, etc. This situation This study, research, survey, etc. This decline, reduction, decrease, drop, etc.
  • What is a pronoun? Words like he, she, it (personal) but also there, here etc (spatial). Linking words dealt with in depth in book. What often goes wring is mismatch between antecedent and what went before. Examples from p 349 etc in Little Brown Handbook.
  • Linking words and phrases help the reader to understand how the text is organised, and what the connection between sentences is. They typically fulfil the following functions: Addition Alternative Condition (provided that, if, unless) Contrast Example or illustration(for instance, indeed, in fact) Emphasis (what is more, indeed, of course) Purpose (in order to, so that) Reason (because, since) Result Time sequence (before, after, until) These examples are not extensive.
  • In the 2000-word essay that the students will write as their assignment for this course, I would expect the average length of the paragraphs to be around 200 to 250 words each, so 8 to 10 paragraphs. This is not a hard and fast rule, though. If the scope of their essay is very precise, there might be fewer paragraphs, each dealing with an idea in depth. If one paragraph is a lot shorter than the others this is normally done for a good reason: the effect that it will create on the reader. Because it is shorter, it will visually stand out thereby attracting the reader’s attention.
  • Zie intro boek
  • See pg 80-81 for theory on collocations in writing. Also
  • So far the book has concentrated on: Brainstorming Organising Planning Writing an outline Writing the introduction with a thesis statement This chapter will focus on: Paragraph structure Grammar Vocabulary Linking words and phrases
  • Again, care should be taken not to literally repeat what has already been stated before.
  • Again, summary words are useful to start the next paragraph and briefly refer to the previous one so that you create a smooth transition. On the next slide you will find more on not only …, but also … as students are not always aware of the special grammatical construction it requires. You could also point out the use of the semi-colon to separate the examples.
  • Point out the word order used is the same as in questions. So for the verb to be and the modals it simply is a matter of inverting the subject and the verb, for other verbs an auxiliary is needed. Students may need to see more examples.
  • This slide not only recapitulates what this chapter is about, but is also a lead-in to the next characteristic of academic vocabulary: tentative language. It is not extensively dealt with in this textbook, and I strongly believe students should know more about this linguistic aspect of academic writing. The materials have been adapted from: Academic Writing for Graduate Students (second edition), By John M. Swales and Christine B. Feak pp. 125 - 129 I think the examples are self-explanatory.
  • Also called hedging.
  • For lecture 4 2- Ode to spelling checker 1- Active/passive 3- formal/informal 4 to first lawyer’s course for ideas?
  • Transcript

    • 1. Academic Writing Lecture 3
    • 2. Structure of this lecture• Some practicalities• Structuring your essay (Chapter 4)• Paragraph requirements• Collocations• Revising (linking words and tentative language)
    • 3. Chapter 4DraftingDo task 2, p 130 Academic Language Centre
    • 4. Planargumentative essayTitle: TV Can Be Good for YouTS: Television provides replacement voices that ease loneliness, spark healthful laughter, and even educate young children.A. Television eases loneliness.1. TV: companion to elderly and reduces confusion and depression (Bondevik and Skogstad, 1998) (Evidence 1: study )2. TV reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness (New Zealand study 2005) (Evidence 2: study )B. TV: positive effect on health1. Effects of laughter on health (e.g. Griffith, 1996) (Background for claim B)2. Examples of comedy programmes (Evidence for comedy on TV)3. Laughter inspired by TV as healthful as laughter by live comedy (Laliberte, 2003) (Evidence 1: study ) Academic Language Centre
    • 5. Essay planC. Television can educate children1. Education television programmes: information at various cognitive levels a. Sesame Street : source of leaning (Illustration supporting claim)2. TV can inspire imaginative play  important for children’s cognitive development (Thakkar et al. 2006) (Evidence : study )D. Harm of TV1. Violent + anti-social behaviour (e.g. Reeks, 2005) (Anticipation of objection)2. Children cannot develop language properly by watching TV  need for actual interaction (Pinker, 1998) (Anticipation of objection)3. TV not an entirely positive force, but not entirely negative force either (Response to objections) Academic Language Centre
    • 6. Conclusion• Include TS again: In this essay, it was argued that Television provides replacement voices that ease loneliness, spark healthful laughter, and even educate young children.• Briefly recapitulate findings, possibly highlighting main finding.• May /may not end by saying some questions remained unanswered, open prospects for future study.
    • 7. Thesis statement (in bold)- “(1) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a great story that develops around the legend of the Sorcerer’s Stone, a long sought after substance that would transform any metal into gold and bestow immortality. (2) In telling the story of the Sorcerer’s Stone, the novel also touches on many universal themes, such as overcoming difficulties, dealing with conflict, relating to authority and learning new ideas. (3) Choosing just three themes to analyze from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was a difficult task because so many themes are fully developed in the novel. (4) However, the three significant themes that I chose to explain from the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone novel are the power of love, the importance of friendship, and courage on the hero’s journey.”(source: http://academicenglishcafe.com/ModelEssay5.aspx)
    • 8. Subsequent paragraphs in this essay:1. “The first important theme in the story is the power of love…….”2. “Friendship is another prevalent theme……”3. “Crafted from the history of alchemy, the story of the Sorcerer’s Stone is ancient and captivating, and the story shows Harry courageously travelling on the hero’s journey to solve the mystery…….” Source: http://www.academicenglishcafe.com/model-essay-5.html
    • 9. Conclusion “By modeling the positive actions and choices of the main characters, Harry, Ron and Hermione, the novel uses the themes of love, friendship and the hero’s journey to entertain as well as inspire us to deal with the events of our lives courageously.” Source: http://www.academicenglishcafe.com/model-essay-5.html
    • 10. Thesis statement (in bold)- “Assignment essays are developed from set questions that give students a period of time to research a topic and produce their answer with references to their sources of information. While there are some disadvantages with using assignment essays as an assessment tool, there are sound educational purposes underpinning this practice. This essay examines the reasons why assignment essays are beneficial for student learning and considers some of the problems with this method of assessment.” (source: http://www.une.edu.au/tlc/aso/aso-online/academic-writing/sample- essay.php)
    • 11. Subsequent paragraphs in this essay:1. “Assignment essay tasks are set to assist students to develop mastery of their study subject……”2. “Using assignment essays for assessment supports student learning better than the traditional examination system…..”3. “As an assessment tool, assignment essays have some disadvantages for lecturers and students……” http://www.une.edu.au/tlc/aso/aso-online/academic-writing/sample-essay.php
    • 12. Conclusion (Thesis statement) “To conclude, it seems that assignment essays continue to have a prominent role in tertiary education as an assessment tool.” (1) “This is mainly because they are very effective in developing knowledge and writing skills for subject areas.” (2) “Also, assignment essays can be less stressful than examinations as they allow students to show their understanding of content in less pressured circumstances.” (3) “On the other hand, the time consuming nature of writing and marking essays points to some disadvantages that also need to be considered.” (Conclusion) “The weight of evidence, however, supports the writing of assignment essays for student assessment because this approach has such positive and proven effects for improved student learning.” source: http://www.une.edu.au/tlc/aso/aso-online/academic-writing/sample-essay.php
    • 13. Concluding paragraph:- Organisation is the opposite of the introductory paragraph: specific to general- Relates back to the thesis statement- Summarises the main arguments without repeating phrases and sentences- Offers recommendations, shows the wider relevance or implications Academic Language Centre
    • 14. Paragraph requirements:A good paragraph is:unified, i.e. it deals with one idea only,represented in the topic sentence (usually thefirst)well-developed, in that it contains enoughsupport for the main point in the form ofexplanation, clarification, illustrationCoherent, i.e. it is logically organised andeasy to follow (it flows). Academic Language Centre
    • 15. Example of paragraph lacking unity: "Zombies are becoming an important part of popular culture, perhaps as a way of coping with some of the common fears in modern North American culture. Films like Shaun of the Dead and Fido blend comedy with aspects of horror and romance, but still focus on zombies. Simon Pegg has gone on to do other films and is a popular and talented comedic actor. Hollywood is taking advantage of resurgence of interest by remaking several old horror films as well. Television shows like “The Walking Dead” are popular with a wide demographic. Cable channels like AMC and HBO are making more and more quality television programs that deal with difficult and controversial topics in a way that is both entertaining and enlightening.” (source: http://cstudies.ubc.ca/writers-workshop/writers-toolbox/paragraph-unity-and-coherence.html )
    • 16. Paragraph coherence:- Linking words and phrases- Repetition of key words and phrases- Summary words- Use of grammatically parallel constructions- Use of pronouns (he, they, our, this, that, their, etc.), reference words- Predictable paragraph organisation • Topic sentence in first position (80%) • accepted to controversial, general to specific, problem – solution, cause –effect, etc.)- Sentence patterns (given – new)- Punctuation Academic Language Centre
    • 17. Example of paragraph lackingcoherence “Canadian software companies face several tough challenges in the new millennium because of ‘brain drain,’ and the monopoly held by their American counterparts. However, the Canadian dollar is getting stronger. ‘Brain drain’ is a bad thing. Our greatest resources are leaving. Microsoft is squeezing out its competitors. In comparison, if the ‘brain drain’ continues, Canadian companies will find it difficult to produce innovative software. If the dollar doesn’t stay strong, it will hurt us. It will help the Americans.” (Source: http://cstudies.ubc.ca/writers-workshop/writers-toolbox/paragraph-unity-and-coherence.html )
    • 18. Rewritten version “Canadian software companies have been facing several tough challenges recently because of ‘brain drain,’ and the monopoly held by American corporations. ‘Brain drain’ is a catchy new term for the practice of American companies enticing brilliant Canadian doctors, scientists, researchers, programmers, and business people to cross over the border into the United States. The U.S. firms lure the Canadian talent with the competitive research and business edge that many such companies have as a result of industry monopolies. Simply put, Canadian companies are being soundly beaten because they find themselves on a playing field that is not always level.” (Source: http://cstudies.ubc.ca/writers-workshop/writers-toolbox/paragraph-unity-and-coherence.html)
    • 19. Coherence and summary words:As warm surface waters flow north they cool andget saltier which makes them denser. This denserwater sinks and returns to the south at depth. TheGulf Stream is part of this circulation system. (=summary word).Other examples: phenomenon method(create your own list of summary words whilereading) Academic Language Centre
    • 20. Pronouns• Pronouns usually refer to other words, called their antecedents• An antecedent and a pronoun must refer to the same thing.• A pronouns antecedent may be either a noun or another pronoun.
    • 21. Example- The argument presented by Jones is unclear because it focuses on a continent rather than on a single country.- Jones and McCarthy agree that the research carried out by Jones is unclear. In their analysis they point out that focusing on a single country leads to a better argumentation.
    • 22. Linking words and phrases- Coordinating conjunctions link two parts of the sentence in a neutral way, without giving extra emphasis to the logical connection between the ideas (and, or, so, but, etc.)- Subordinating conjunctions link an independent clause with a dependent clause or v.v. (if, since, although, etc.)- Conjunctive adverbs make the logical connection between two complete sentences (however, in fact, finally, etc.) Academic Language Centre
    • 23. Paragraph length- Paragraphs should be approximately the same length- The length of a paragraph depends on the total length of the paper Academic Language Centre
    • 24. Collocations• Groups of words that frequently occur together• Natural combinations of words• Examples: • blonde hair • strong argument • commit a crime
    • 25. Why are collocations important?• Helps to make your English more natural• Enriches your understanding of language• Increases your vocabulary range (Source: O’Dell, Felicity & Michael McCarthy. English Collocations in Use: Advanced. Cambridge: CUP, 2008. Print.)
    • 26. Collocations in Academic English (1)- Noun - Noun - critical analysis - background reading - literature review - working hypothesis - full explanation
    • 27. Collocations in Academic English (2)- Verb-Noun - research indicates - submit a report / essay - present findings - draw a conclusion - select a research topic - do/conduct research
    • 28. Chapter 5Revising Academic Language Centre
    • 29. revisingThe focus is on:-Organising your ideas and research intowel-developed paragraphs-Rounding off a paragraph with aconcluding sentence-Linking your paragraphs with transitionsentences showing the relationshipbetween topicsDo tasks 11, 12 on p. 169 Academic Language Centre
    • 30. Linking paragraphs- Use a transition sentence that briefly links back to the previous paragraph, then introduces the next topic- Use signalling language showing a complementary or contrasting relationship (similar to…., whereas …, etc.)- Or use correlative conjunctions (not only …, but also …; both … and …; either … or…; neither … nor …) Academic Language Centre
    • 31. Not only …, but also …- Grammatical construction: inversion.He was a painter, but he was also an arts dealer.Not only was he a painter, but also an arts dealer.He broke his arm and his collar bone.Not only did he break his arm, but also his collar bone.Do task 15, p. 173 Academic Language Centre
    • 32. RevisingSpecial attention should be paid to:- word choice (vocabulary)-sentence structure (grammar),-paragraph structure. Academic Language Centre
    • 33. Tentative language,or the need to be cautiousIn academic texts we often need tomoderate or qualify our claims andgeneralisations.Use modal verbs (expressing probability):Sleeping 7 – 9 hours a day will result inbetter academic performance.Sleeping 7 – 9 hours a day may result inbetter academic performance.Sleeping 7 – 9 hours a day might / couldresult in better academic performance. Academic Language Centre
    • 34. Tentative language: Create distance:The factory has benefitted from the recent technology upgrade.The factory seems to have benefitted from the recent technology upgrade.The factory appears to have benefitted from the recent technology upgrade.It seems that the factory has benefitted from the recent technology upgrade.It has been said that the factory seems to have benefitted from the recent technology upgrade. Academic Language Centre
    • 35. Tentative language:Distance yourself from the data:Based on the limited data available, …In the view of some experts, ….According to this preliminary study, …Based on an informal survey of nine department managers, … Academic Language Centre
    • 36. Tentative language: Qualify a generalisation:Children living in poverty have a history of health problems.Children living in poverty tend to have a history of health problems.Many children living in poverty have a history of health problems.The majority of children living in poverty have a history of health problems.In most parts of the world children living in poverty have a history of health problems. Academic Language Centre
    • 37. Tentative language:Choose a weaker verb:Unsound policies of the IMF led to the financial crisis.Unsound policies of the IMF contributed to the financial crisis. Academic Language Centre
    • 38. Tentative language:Combine several types of qualifications, but do not overdo it:It could be concluded that the majority of studies seem to suggest that some of the unsound policies of the IMF might have led to the financial crisis. Academic Language Centre
    • 39. Beating Writers Block-Plan carefully-Start with the easy bits-Take a break when you feel you need one…-…But not for too long-Get away from it during breaks-Sleep on it if stuck-Explain to an interested layperson-Clear your desk-Do not try to get everything right the first time-Write around missing information-Do not stop when your writing flows-Set crazy deadlines…-…And reward yourself for meeting them(Source: Fraser, Jane, How to Publish in Biomedicine, 500 Tips for Success, Radcliffe:Radcliffe Medical Press, 1997. Print.) Academic Language Centre
    • 40. Next week- Discussion of Chapters 6 and 7 in the book- Academic Writing in an intercultural context (not in the book).