4 Key Features of Academic Writing # 1– Use Formal Language 學術寫作四大要訣之一:正式

撰寫學術論文必須遵守某些特定風格和技巧的規範,雖然這些規範不至於讓創作學者寫得縛手縛腳,但某些經濟的寫作方式和表達法的限制向來被視為奉行不悖的圭臬。本專欄為撰寫學術論文的四大要訣,每項要訣都會刊登在TPS 粉絲頁,最後集結於 TPS 學術電子報。
Academic writers must conform to certain expectations about writing style and techniques. The rules are not so tight as to place a creative scholar in a straitjacket. However, certain economies of writing and constraints on expression are generally considered de rigueur. Following are four of the principal guidelines for writers of academic papers. Each part in the series will be presented on the TPS Fan page before being compiled.

1st Writing Guideline – Use Formal Language

This is perhaps the most recognized guideline. Young scholars with any experience at all in crafting papers know about couching language formally. Unfortunately, some of their role models in the academic community only think they know about it: Their writing is more futile than formal and is an example of how not to write formally. Such academicians believe a long word in English always is better than a short one and that multiple syllables somehow give a word greater standing in academic circles. This is not formal writing, it is pretentious writing. Avoid it.

In English, longer words tend to have roots in Latin or French, rather than Anglo-Saxon, so there is something of a haute couture factor in play: It is fashionable to dress up a paper in long words. Beware of such trends. What always is in fashion in English academic writing is clear language that communicates by melding long Latinate words and stubby Anglo expressions into a document of durable weight and significance. Hard and fast rules about word choices are not needed to accomplish this. Rather, a writer must develop good judgment about choosing words.

Some choices are easy: Abbreviations should be avoided, for example; they are almost by definition informal. And colloquial words and phrases like “things” and “pretty much” have no place in formal writing. The same generally is true of combination phrases such as “lived-in” and “put off.” The tougher choices are between legitimate words such as “commence” and “begin,” “demonstrate” and “show,” or “reside” and “live.” Such words can add to the understanding of a paper in one usage, but detract in another. Judgment. Choosing words is an academic skill.
有時候選字很簡單,例如縮寫一定要避免,本質上縮寫就是不正式。另外,口語用的字詞或片語,像是「東西(things)」和「差不多(pretty much)」,是絕對不可出現在正式寫作裡的,「不錯(lived-in)」、「等一下(put off)」等組合型片語也都不適當。較難選擇的是一些正統用法,例如「開始」要用commence或是begin、「顯示」要用demonstrate或是show、「居住」要用reside或是live,這些字在某個用法下能讓論文變得更易懂,但用另一種用法可能反而有反效果。關鍵就在判斷力。選字是一項必備的學術技能。


Posted at 2014-03-13 17:28:41

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