Birmingham Egyptology

‘Discoveries, Estimates and Arguments: How Language Makes Science’

On Tuesday 12th November: Professor Susan Hunston will give the above talk. Although primarily evaluating the use of language in science, it seems that the points raised may be worthy of some consideration when writing for our own discipline.

The talk has been arranged by the Midland Branch of the Birmingham University Guild of Graduates and will begin at 7.30 pm in Arts Lecture Room 3. As Chair of the Branch I know that any who are interested will be welcomed as guests! A brief synopsis of the talk appears below. [Steven Gregory]


Synopsis: It used to be thought that scientific writing is objective and impersonal. We now know that scientists evaluate their work as they write about it, and that they use evaluative language when they write and speak to the general public. In this talk I will explain the language strategies used by scientists to persuade us that their views are correct, and also persuade policy-makers to continue to fund research. The talk will also demonstrate how linguistic research uses new technologies to investigate naturally-occurring language, and how discourse analysis and corpus linguistics come together to explore the language of science. The talk uses evidence from the ‘Bank of English’ corpus, from a former Great Read at Birmingham book, and from the BBC ‘Today’ programme.

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