Features of an academic style of communication

Features of an academic style of communication


Hi. In this video I will explain the basic
features of an academic style of communication. In particular I will explain four features
of academic style that is relevant to both written and spoken English. These four features are: Being more impersonal by avoiding pronouns. Nominalisation, which is a technical term for using nouns instead of verbs. Use of a more formal tone and precise language, and use of cautious language, which is also sometimes called “hedging”. In the rest of this video I will provide you with examples to illustrate each of these
concepts. Being more impersonal involves removing pronouns like I, me, or we where possible. In this example you can see that the “you” in
the first sentence has been replaced with a more impersonal term “it” in the second
sentence. This makes the sentence sound more academic because it sounds more objective. Another example that is frequently used by students at university is the sentence “In this essay I’ll discuss”. A better way to write this statement would be “This essay will discuss…” Nominalisation (or using nouns instead of verbs) allows you to make your English sound more academic for two reasons. Firstly, nouns are often longer than verbs, making the words sound more technical. Secondly, the use of nouns often require you to reorder the structure of your sentence, which makes your sentence sound more academic. Here is an example. The top sentence states that: “During the 18th century, industry began to develop quickly”. While there is nothing technically wrong with this sentence, it can be made more formal by using the noun version of the word “develop”. The sentence would then become: “During the 18th century, rapid development of industry began”. An even more formal way of saying this would be to use the technical word for the concept “development of industry”, namely industrialisation.
This third version of the sentence would then be: “The 18th century saw the beginning of rapid industrialisation”, which sounds most academic of the three options available. Another example of using a noun instead of a verb can be seen here, where “formulate” has
been changed to “formulation”. The word formulation is longer, making the sentence sound more formal. Use of formal and precise language involves several different components. You should use technical language where possible if
you can spell it correctly and use the technical terms appropriately. You should be precise and unambiguous, and you should avoid contractions like can’t, don’t, or won’t. Finally, you should avoid
slang and emotive language where possible. In the following example I will show you how to make a specific paragraph sound more academic. Here you can see the paragraph states: “The government introduced some new legislation, focussed on increasing stuff like rooftop
power panels to reduce climate change. Sadly, these changes don’t properly address key
environmental challenges.” There are several parts of this paragraph
that can be improved. You can see the use of “some” new legislation which is not
precise – it does not describe how many pieces of legislation were introduced. The
paragraph also uses the slang term “stuff like”, the emotive term “sadly” and
the contraction “don’t”. Here I have reworded the paragraph using more academic language. In this reworded paragraph the language is more specific, highlighting that the government introduced two pieces of new legislation. More technical language is
used, the slang term has been removed and the contraction has been changed to the full word “do not”. Additionally, the emotive word “sadly” has been replaced with the
more academic term “however”. While both paragraphs ultimately have the same main points, the way the language is used makes this second version sound more academic in style compared with the first version. Finally, academic language involves the use of cautious language, also sometimes called “hedging”. This involves avoiding the
use of 100% certainty statements, but using terms that are more cautious such as “suggests”, “indicates”, or “tends”. In this example you can see a conclusive sentence stating that the research “proves” that… In order to make this sentence more cautious the word “proves” can be replaced with the word “suggests”.

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