Addams moring 2010-masters-thesis-in-english_tkk-lib_apr-23

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Addams moring 2010-masters-thesis-in-english_tkk-lib_apr-23

  1. 1. Master's thesis - scientific / scholarly writing in English (and Swedish) Ronja Addams-Moring Course Eri-0.6100 Tools for Master’s Thesis 23rd April 2010, TKK Main Library
  2. 2. 223rd April 2010 Ronja Addams-Moring 2 Outline • Is writing in English different? Why [not]? • Where are you in your project -> current issues • Good engineering English • Typical issues for Finnish and Scandinavian writers • Traditions, tips and tricks • Resources for further learning
  3. 3. 3 In English – or not? 23rd April 2010 Ronja Addams-Moring
  4. 4. 4Ronja Addams-Moring 4 The decision • What influences the choice of language? • Who decides? • Where or when is the point of no return? • How can one prepare? • Discussion 23rd April 2010
  5. 5. 5Ronja Addams-Moring 5 Does it matter, really? • Are there differences between writing in • English or Finnish/Swedish? • primary or secondary/tertiary language? • What differences? • For whom do they matter? • What stays the same? • Discussion 23rd April 2010
  6. 6. 6 Earlier comments • In English as a second/third language – Often easier to find literature – Often slower to read literature – Analytical reading may be easier than physical acting to directions – Harder to start writing or to continue after a break – or not! – Easier to find concepts, vocabulary – Harder to find one's own style / tone - “my ears fail me!” Ronja Addams-Moring23rd April 2010
  7. 7. 7 Where are you now? 23rd April 2010 Ronja Addams-Moring
  8. 8. 8Ronja Addams-Moring 8 Different stages & writing 1.I know my major & minor, no topic yet -> ideas 2.Tentative topic / supervisor / job / boss -> READ! 3.Topic / job official ; started on literature -> notes 4.Literature mostly found, partly read / topic clearer, detailed / some text / work -> snippets 5.Literature read, introduction mostly written / practical work underway -> ”lab diary” 6.Practical work done -> the major writing 7.Revising, comments, finalizing, official part 23rd April 2010
  9. 9. 9Ronja Addams-Moring 9 Different issues 1.What I can / want – what is available 2.Clarify, dare to ask, first literature, working environment, backup system, ”speed books” 3.Literature search, reading, note-taking routines ; supporters (later: commentators) 4.Write something every day! 5.Ensure quality of practical work, keep ”lab diary” 6.Starting writing, keeping on writing, illustrations 7.Revising, getting comments; official part correct 23rd April 2010
  10. 10. 10Ronja Addams-Moring 10 Major risks 1.Topic: being too choosy or too meak 2.Client / boss knows too exactly what is needed 3.Found literature or notes lost; no project glossary for concepts; no supporters 4.Putting off writing or not taking backups 5.Shoddy quality of practical work, no ”lab diary” 6.Weak writing routine, too much or few illustr. 7.Too little revising time, no plan for getting comments; mistakes in official part 23rd April 2010
  11. 11. 11 Break for coffee / tea, Swedish writers please stay 23rd April 2010 Ronja Addams-Moring
  12. 12. 12Ronja Addams-Moring 12 Specifikt för svenska 1a principen: Var på din vakt + självkritisk • “Modersmål” garanterar inte kompetens – Ofta: skola på finska, svenska bara hemma • Satsa på ett bra verktyg (Svefix, integrerar sig i MS Word) och/eller språkgranskning – MS Word är nära på hopplös med svenska – Finlandismer förekommer (alla syndar) – Rikssvenskarna kan inte svenska heller • Tro enbart på sådant du själv har checkat + antäckna källorna till termer + språkbruk 23rd April 2010
  13. 13. 13 Reoccurring big issues 23rd April 2010 Ronja Addams-Moring
  14. 14. 14Ronja Addams-Moring 14 Olde Stile or New Skool? • Olde Stile = Russo-Finno-German / Oxbridge – Traditional scientific / scholarly writing ; passive voice – ”Deductive”: introductions, base, assumptions, premises etc. in detail first – Main point / conclusion last in sentence / paragraph / section / work (compare with: German verb last in sentence / Finnish, Russian suffixes last in word) • New Skool = Anglo-American / Journalism – Inverted pyramid structure ; active voice (we) – ”Inductive”: main issue first, then elaborations and justifications – Main point first in (almost) every sentence / paragraph / section 23rd April 2010
  15. 15. 15Ronja Addams-Moring 15 Choosing a style • Few readers have time to read Olde Stile texts today! • What style(s) do you like to read? • Legitimate differences between – natural sciences and hard engineering – arts and qualitative humanities – soft engineering and other semi-quantitative • Can one write in a personal style? – Yes, but... 23rd April 2010
  16. 16. 16Ronja Addams-Moring 16 Style: no Marketroidish, please • Use adjectives sparingly – famous - great - quick - poor - rich • No comparatives without comparisons – more - less - lower - stronger - shorter • No superlatives (maybe in comparisons) – most - fastest - highest - cheapest - latest • As few adverbs as possible – very - truly - exceedingly - highly 23rd April 2010
  17. 17. 17Ronja Addams-Moring 17 Style: no Tabloidish, please • Aggressive – rival - war - territory - enemy - mob - attack • Sensational – unprecedented - imaginable - adventure • Inexact – "ordinary mobile phone“ - "traditional bridge construction“ - "at broadband speeds" • Absolute – always - never - all - none - first - last 23rd April 2010
  18. 18. 18Ronja Addams-Moring 18 Cultural issues • Guiding the reader with meta-text – first ... second ... finally / as we saw in section X – in contrast / consequently / in summary / moreover • Is meta-text a service - or an insult? – Finno-German (Sino-Japanese, too?): rich meta-text -> writer thinks the reader is dumb, needs ”crutches” – Anglo-American (French-Canadian, too?): little meta- text -> writer is lazy, dumb or unprofessional • Do use meta-text when writing in English! 23rd April 2010
  19. 19. 19Ronja Addams-Moring 19 Vocabulary -> concept coherence • What is standard vocabulary in my topic area? How do I find out? • If many standards (or none) – how do I choose? – your professor & boss should be able to help • Work for concept coherence from day one! – tool: project glossary – start early & use it • One concept = one wording / one phrase • Shorten phrases in a standard manner 23rd April 2010
  20. 20. 20Ronja Addams-Moring 20 Spoken vs. written language • all/many kinds of • big • if need be • like / alike • looks like • lots of • so • pros and cons • several types • large / major • if needed • such as • seems as if • many / large amount • thus / therefore • advantages and disadvantages 23rd April 2010
  21. 21. 21Ronja Addams-Moring 21 Good engineering English • As simple as possible, but not simpler – Clear, direct, active, unambiguous – Written language, yet unpretentious – Correct vocabulary, systematic concepts – Coherent, neutral enough style (neither Old Oxbridge nor Nokia Pidgin) – Comfortable information density – Natural use of meta-textual elements 23rd April 2010
  22. 22. 22 Native language related 23rd April 2010 Ronja Addams-Moring
  23. 23. 23Ronja Addams-Moring 23 Finns, pay attention to • Articles! (relevant also for the Chinese, Estonians, Hungarians, Turks...) – a / an (U and Y act as consonants) – the / - – count nouns vs. mass nouns (= countable vs. uncountable nouns) – ”the ... of” rule • Word order – mostly direct & fairly free -> meaning may change! 23rd April 2010
  24. 24. 24Ronja Addams-Moring 24 Scandinavians, pay attention to • Old Norse based languages partly alike English (Dutch, German also) • English subclauses: direct word order • Archaic and sound-alike (Norse root) – baere, bära / bear -> support, carry; tolerate – spare, spara / spare -> save; protect – vende, vända / vend -> turn, flip; sell – barn / bairn; barn -> child; shed, stable 23rd April 2010
  25. 25. 25Ronja Addams-Moring 25 All non-native speakers • Unintentional wordiness / terseness – can you get a native speaker to comment? – preferably early! (not too many pages) • Never translate an idiom word for word! • Everybody should - also native speakers – use (on-line) dictionaries and thesauri habitually – use spell-checkers!! 23rd April 2010
  26. 26. 26 Central traditions and handy tricks 23rd April 2010 Ronja Addams-Moring
  27. 27. 27Ronja Addams-Moring 27 Honesty • Admitting own shortcomings and mistakes – “These results were unexpected because previous experiments by...” – “We found our preliminary results too optimistic: current GSM networks should not...” – “The system only partially fulfilled the robustness and performance requirements, due to...” • Hedging (making uncertainties visible) – usually, likely, probably, in this case, possibly... – “Based on the results with titanium dioxide, it should be possible to use also...” 23rd April 2010
  28. 28. 28Ronja Addams-Moring 28 Global and gender-neutral • Actively describe where your work could be used – climates, ecosystems, cultures, languages... • Find examples: Asia, Africa, South-America... • He, she or – what? – use the plural they – use they as singular (becoming fairly standard) – assign roles in examples, alternate women and men in roles (note: role balance!) – write around in some other way (beware of accidental passive voice) 23rd April 2010
  29. 29. 29Ronja Addams-Moring 29 Often mixed up • amount vs. number – amounts are measured, numbers are counted – The amount of water... – The number of glasses... • shortly vs. briefly – shortly = soon ; briefly = for a short time – ”We will shortly arrive in Helsinki.” – ”We will briefly visit Helsinki before...” 23rd April 2010
  30. 30. 30 Some free writing resources 23rd April 2010 Ronja Addams-Moring
  31. 31. 31Ronja Addams-Moring 31 The OWL at Purdue • One of the oldest on-line resources • HUGE! Yet fairly easily navigable, if you start here: • Non-Purdue College Level Instructors and Students http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/679/01/ • Useful for Master’s Thesis and related work: • Writing Engineering Reports (presentation) http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/647/01/ • Writing Scientific Abstracts (presentation) http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/706/01/ • Reverse Paramedic Method (for revising) http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/721/01/ 23rd April 2010
  32. 32. 32Ronja Addams-Moring 32 The Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing • Also large and fairly navigable • http://www.mhhe.com/mayfieldpub/tsw/home.ht m • The Writing Timeline http://www.mhhe.com/mayfieldpub/tsw/wt.htm • Common Writing Problems for Non-Native Speakers of English http://www.mhhe.com/mayfieldpub/tsw/esl- link.htm 23rd April 2010
  33. 33. 33Ronja Addams-Moring 33 Merriam-Webster Online • http://www.merriam-webster.com/ – dictionary – thesaurus – word-of-the-day – and more • Used to be congested during Americas’ daytime – not so much 2008-2010 • US English spelling dominates 23rd April 2010
  34. 34. 34Ronja Addams-Moring 34 Multilingual terminology • IATE = Inter-Active Terminology for Europe – the EU inter-institutional terminology database – http://iate.europa.eu/ • TEPA-termipankki (term bank) – Sanastokeskus TSK’s responsibility – has Finnish, Swedish and English user interfaces – http://www.tsk.fi/tepa/ 23rd April 2010
  35. 35. 35Ronja Addams-Moring 35 For LaTeX users • Oetiker: The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX 2 / Pitkänpuoleinen johdanto LaTeX 2e:n käyttöön (PDF - do save a local copy) • http://www.maths.tcd.ie/~dwilkins/LaTeXPrimer/ • http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BibTeX • http://www.hep.manchester.ac.uk/u/jenny/jcwdoc s/latex/bibtexbasics.html • http://www.economics.utoronto.ca/osborne/latex/ BIBTEX.HTM23rd April 2010
  36. 36. 36Ronja Addams-Moring 36 For OpenOffice users • OOoForum.org • OpenOffice.org Writer • http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewforum.phtml?f=2 • “I need help regarding the structure and the table of contents of a master's thesis...” http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewtopic.phtml?t=73469 • “Is there an american dictionary file that I can overwrite with an English one...” http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewtopic.phtml?t=80123 • and some 12.000 more messages in this subforum 23rd April 2010
  37. 37. 37 Miscellaneous, free or (semi-)commercial resources 23rd April 2010 Ronja Addams-Moring
  38. 38. 38Ronja Addams-Moring 38 General tools • Dropbox for backups (basic version is free) • Freemind for mindmaps (open source) • What others can you recommend / have heard positive comments about? If you need to choose project management software (unlikely), start e.g. here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_proje ct_management_software 23rd April 2010
  39. 39. 39Ronja Addams-Moring 39 (Some) books are worth buying • Robert A. Day & Barbara Gastel “How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper” (5th or 6th ed.) • William Foddy: “Constructing Questions for Interviews and Questionnaires...” (? ed., 2008) • Colin Robson: “Real World Research...” (2nd ed.) • One good British English dictionary (CD!) • One good British English thesaurus (CD?) • Own field specific word list(s) / dictionary(ies) 23rd April 2010
  40. 40. 40 Buying language checking? • Get an independent assessment early – Is your English / Swedish OK enough? – Checking cost? Payment timetable? • Form a group, if possible (2-4 people) • Find a language professional familiar with (your field of) engineering, test their competence! • Work iteratively (group & professional) • Pay for strategic checking only (Introduction, Conclusions, chapter beginnings & ends) Ronja Addams-Moring23rd April 2010
  41. 41. 41 Almost finally 23rd April 2010 Ronja Addams-Moring
  42. 42. 42Ronja Addams-Moring 42 Use and share these slides, please! • This work (= these slides) is licensed under the Creative Commons license Attribution Non- Commercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported • The license terms are available via: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc- sa/3.0/deed.en • Attribute e.g. like this: “Ronja Addams-Moring: ‘Master's thesis - scientific / scholarly writing in English (and Swedish)’. Presentation 23rd April 2010 at Helsinki University of Technology (TKK), Espoo, Finland, EU” 23rd April 2010
  43. 43. 43Ronja Addams-Moring 43 Ronja’s contact information • http://www.iki.fi/~ronja/ • http://www.linkedin.com/in/addamsmoring • http://www.proz.com/translator/853646 • http://www.slideshare.net/AddamsMoring • http://www.facebook.com/ronja.addamsmoring • ronja [AT] iki [DOT] fi • Skype: ronja-am • Mob: +358 (0)40 502 8050 23rd April 2010
  44. 44. 44 Finally: demonstrations of some tools and work methods + questions 23rd April 2010 Ronja Addams-Moring

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