Last fall, I was asked to “blurb” – to provide some pithy promotional phrases for – a new book: Corcoran, Englander, and Muresan’s “Pedagogies and Policies for Publishing Research in English: Local Initiatives Supporting International Scholars” It’s a book about how training can be provided to support scholars who want to publish research in English, despite having English as an additional language (that is, being EAL writers).
I’m glad I agreed to read and blurb Publishing Research in English, because it turned out to be fascinating. I’m not reviewing it here, though; instead, I want to share a few interesting points I picked up from the book. Some are things I knew; some are things I didn’t. Some are things that may find global agreement among EAL writers; others are doubtless quite different. If you’re an EAL writer, or if you advise or teach EAL readers, I hope you’ll share your reaction in the Replies. Continue reading
Two weeks ago, I reported my run-in with a reviewer who wanted me to scrub common English contractions (like it’s, doesn’t, or we’re) from a manuscript. There’s a common belief that contractions mustn’t be used in scientific writing, although the genesis of this “rule” is unclear. So is the rationale. One that’s commonly suggested is that contractions make writing informal, and that that’s inappropriate – to which I say only “Harumph”. Another is much more important: the claim that they make writing less accessible to readers of English as an additional language (EAL).
I’ve been skeptical of that hard-for-EAL claim, but not being an EAL reader myself makes it hard for me to claim authority on the issue. So, I asked EAL readers of Scientist Sees Squirrel to weigh in – and they did. Today, poll results, and a couple of additional points raised by some folks who think about writing for EAL readers. Continue reading
I recently had a run-in (OK, a minor disagreement) with a reviewer who wanted me to scrub all contractions from my manuscript – and who specifically objected, not to some fancy or newly-coined acronym but standard, common English contractions like didn’t, it’s, and we’ll. Continue reading