Conceptual development in technical and textbook writing

a challenge for LI and L2 student readers

Alan Jones*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

3 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The paper argues that the decoding skills that first year university students - both L1 and L2 students - bring to the kinds of technical writing typically found in textbooks or in academic articles are much more sophisticated than many available accounts suggest. Students need to, and do, 'go beyond the text' in a number of ways, and decoding is an inadequate term for the skills involved. Students frequently need to use prior knowledge of the field - including what Martin [33] calls its technicality 1 - to contextualise and explicate concepts found in their reading: so they need to obtain that knowledge and bring it to their reading. The obvious circularity of this condition is a key part of the problem, and solutions are suggested. Readers need to be able to handle higher order abstractions, and they need 'forward inferencing ' skills to bridge the gap between what is said and what is going to be said, supplementing the backward looking processes of anaphoric reference and bridging inferences. These reading strategies reflect the dynamics of the writing process.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Professional Communication Conference (IPCC 2005)
EditorsGeorge Hayhoe
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Pages738-751
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)0780390288, 9780780390287
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Event2005 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 2005 - Limerick, Ireland
Duration: 10 Jul 200513 Jul 2005

Other

Other2005 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 2005
CountryIreland
CityLimerick
Period10/07/0513/07/05

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2005 IEEE. Reprinted from Proceedings of the International professional communication conference (IPCC 2005). This material is posted here with permission of the IEEE. Such permission of the IEEE does not in any way imply IEEE endorsement of any of Macquarie University’s products or services. Internal or personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution must be obtained from the IEEE by writing to pubs-permissions@ieee.org. By choosing to view this document, you agree to all provisions of the copyright laws protecting it.

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