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Knocking at the doors: gate keepers and authors in research writing, a study of writing practices in the journal Acta Tropica.

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Title: Knocking at the doors: gate keepers and authors in research writing, a study of writing practices in the journal Acta Tropica.


1
Knocking at the doors gate keepers and authors
in research writing, a study of writing practices
in the journal Acta Tropica.
  • Chris Tribble
  • King's College, London University
  • christopher.tribble_at_kcl.ac.uk / www.ctribble.co.uk

2
overview
  • Is the notion of a NS model useful in teaching
    writing?
  • an example
  • an attempt to extend the study

3
some connections for the seminar
  • Ramesh Krishnamurthy the issue of which model
    to present to learners
  • Paul Thompson clusters and collocates of
    clusters

4
some initial questions
  • What are the most appropriate examplar texts to
    use in academic instruction?
  • How important is the mother tongue status of the
    writers of these examplars?
  • What criteria should be applied when selecting
    exemplars?
  • What is the best way to use these exemplars in
    writing instruction?

5
native speaker or lingua franca?
  • Is this statement true? Is it useful?
  • "in spite of the majority of non-native
    speakers or the non-inner-circle countries, many
    of whom use the language actively and regularly
    in institutional frameworks, the native speakers
    of the inner-circle countries retain the hold to
    the yardstick of linguistic correctness." (Ammon
    2000 112)

6
expert, not native
  • in the context of genre informed language
    teaching if teachers can choose relevant
    exemplars on the basis of the writers' expertise
    rather than on the basis of the accidental
    criterion of mother tongue status, Ammon's
    concern about fairness and unfairness becomes
    irrelevant, and students get the educational
    programmes that they need. Win, win. (Tribble
    2006)

7
writing in the sciences preliminary study
  • small collection of published research articles
    in biomedical science (from one year 2004)
  • additional resources Wordsmith Tools v5 /
    research article collection British National
    Corpus

8
Acta Tropica, 2004
  • Acta Tropica (Elsevier)
  • biomedical and health sciences with particular
    emphasis on topics relevant to human and animal
    health in the tropics and the subtropics
  • Editors Swedish Latvian (2004)
  • Editorial board 23 - 9 from English speaking
    countries
  • Eight articles in the study
  • 36 authors
  • 29 from "outer-circle" countries (Kachru 1989)

9
Acta Tropica, 2004 authors
Authors Country Authors Country
6 Brazil. 1 France
4 Argentina 1 Switzerland
3 Kenya 2 USA
3 Central African Republic 2 Australia
3 Cameroon 3 India
3 Venezuela
2 China
2 Germany
1 Argentina
10
the structure of expertise
  • specialist lexis / noun phrase structure
  • theme / rheme structure
  • discourse structure
  • and some anomolies

11
linguistic competence low frequency lexis
noun phrase structure
Cystic echinococcosis in Argentina evolution of
metacestode and clinical expression in various
Echinococcus granulosus strains Eduardo A.
Guarneraa, Alberto Parrab, Laura Kamenetzkya,
Gustavo Garcíac and Ariana Gutiérreza
ABSTRACT Echinococcus granulosus hydatid cysts
were examined in 41 patients from Neuquén and
Tucumán provinces in Argentina. Sequencing of the
mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1
(CO1) revealed in 19 patients common sheep strain
(G1), in 6 patients Tasmania sheep strain (G2),
in 1 patient cattle strain, and in 15 patients
camel strain (G6) 175 words in the original /
lexical density 114.5 (Halliday 1989)
12
linguistic competence thematic structure
  • S1 Echinococcus granulosus hydatid cysts were
    examined in 41 patients from Neuquén and Tucumán
    provinces in Argentina. S2 Sequencing of the
    mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1
    (CO1) revealed in 19 patients common sheep strain
    (G1), in 6 patients Tasmania sheep strain (G2),
    in 1 patient cattle strain (G5), and in 15
    patients camel strain (G6). S3 In Argentina
    the only known is the domestic cycle that affects
    dogs and herbivorous, including ovine, swine,
    cattle and goats. S4 These strains produced a
    total of 58.6 of primary liver infections, 29.2
    primary in lung, 2.4 primary in spleen and 9.8
    were multiorgan abdominal infections.
  • S5 The metacestode was classified using the
    evolutive stages proposed by WHO-IWGE (from CE1
    to CE5). S6 We estimated that CE1 cyst has a
    duration of about 22 years, CE2 of 14 years, CE3
    of 10 years, CE4 of 19 years and CE5 was not
    determined. S7 The active types CE1 and CE2
    reached 75 of all cases from all strains.

13
linguistic competence specialist terms
(extracted via WST Keywords)
mosquitoes infection liver cysts infected spleen trop mortality schistosomiasis malaria laboratory height parasite falciparum larvae mosquito infections brucei bacillus granulosus quinquefasciatus teknar trypanosoma leishmaniasis dosages mean amphotericin instars oocyst vivax
14
linguistic competence lexical knowledge (MI3)
WORD 1 WORD 2
diplonychus indicus
polymerase chain
chain reaction
pentavalent antimonials
peripheral branches
improve accuracy
diptera culicidae
egg rafts
polymerase reaction
triatoma infestans
WORD 1 WORD 1 WORD 2
branch wall
carried out
target organisms
lethal doses
received revised
oblique view
pupal recruitment
grass thatched
grass thatch
grass hut
15
linguistic competence discourse expertise
MOVE TEXT 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
title x x x x x x x x
authors x x x x x x x x
abstract x x x x x x x x
introduction x x x x x x x x
case_studies x
subjects_and_methods x
materials_and_methods x x x x x x
results x x x x x x x x
discussion x x x x x x x x
acknowledgements x x x x x x
references x x x x x x x x
16
a contrastGuardian 2007 lexis noun phrase
structure
The vaccine contains a weakened virus that
stimulates immunity against the "wild" virus,
which can cause paralysis. On rare occasions, the
vaccine virus can mutate to a more dangerous
form, spread from person to person and cause a
paralytic infection. This phenomenon, only
recognised in the past decade, has caused
outbreaks in 10 countries since 2000. This year,
7 of all polio cases worldwide were caused by
vaccine-derived virus. 14.5
17
Guardian (2007) MI3
Word 1 Word 2 Word 1 Word 2
CLIMATE CHANGE YEAR OLD
AL QAIDA ZANU PF
LOS ANGELES AT LEAST
HUMAN RIGHTS SINN FEIN
TONY BLAIR WAL MART
WILL BE GORDON BROWN
HAD BEEN SUU KYI
YEARS AGO NEW YORK
HONG KONG SUCH AS
GLOBAL WARMING RATHER THAN
SAUDI ARABIA THERE IS
MIDDLE EAST SRI LANKA
18
moving towards pedagogy top "discourse" word in
AT wordlist
Verbs co-occuring with "study"
ltPgtltSgtThis study was conducted in Mbita Point, Suba District, western Kenya in ltPgtltSgtThis study has shown that the natural fluctuations in indoor environmental ltPgtltSgtOur study suggests that using wild type parasites in a natural set up is l ltPgtltSgtThe results of our studies also demonstrate the possibility that some wild ltPgtltSgtIn conclusion, our study has shown that the development of ookinetes and o
conduct / demonstrate / detect / determine /
perform / provide / report / show / suggest
19
expert writers in AT
  • can select and control and combine the technical
    and subtechnical lexis essential to the
    construction of knowledge in the disciplinary
    area
  • can select and control the grammar of extended
    noun phrases (particularly noun-noun
    pre-modification and of phrase post-modification)
  • can control theme / rheme structures in order to
    foreground discoursally significant information.
  • can control macro-structure in order to meet
    reader expectations within a disciplinary culture

20
the NNS issue - systematic or local patterns?
4. One of the characteristics of malaria parasite extrinsic cycle is its tem missing article
7. The experiments were conducted under live microhabitats described as (1 collocation in preferred
13. For enumeration of ookinetes, batches of live mosquitoes per experimental missing article
19. For the experiments done in the natural unregulated real village houses, a style - conducted or carried out more likely
21. Our study suggests that using wild type parasites in a natural set up is l style - in natural conditions more likely
21
a conclusion?
  • The critical point is that these local problems
    don't really matter. Editors and peer reviewers
    have accepted the articles for publication
    because they are good science, and meet the
    standards for clear expression and formal
    structure set by the journal. As we have seen,
    the texts are systematically remarkably
    harmonious. Local instances of infelicity,
    concord error, and the like remain that ? local.
    Critically, they are not treated as reason for
    disallowing these texts as contributions to a
    specific genre. They might be less acceptable if
    the texts were being submitted to a literary
    publisher ? but this is precisely the point.
    They are research articles ? not elegant
    belles-lettres essays. Teachers wanting to
    present consistent models of how the language
    works at clause or phrase level will still need
    to refer to the grammars and lexicons which are
    either required in national education systems, or
    which they find most useful for their students in
    their own professional judgement

22
extending the study
  • larger text collection (1,101,749 words)
  • ethnographic study
  • but hereby hangs a tale

23
some simple differences
  • more articles, more words
  • 1989/1991 (162 articles / 572,751 words)
  • 2007 (102 articles / 528,998 words)
  • and some curious contrasts

24
keywords past forms
Key word 1989-91 Key word 2007
INFECTION MALARIA
WERE INFECTION
INFECTED WERE
TRYPANOSOMES CRUZI
CONGOLENSE INFECTED
PARASITES PARASITE
MALARIA PARASITES
MICE SAMPLES
PARASITE TREATMENT
INFECTIONS MICE
25
clusters and key-clusters
  • Clusters are words which are found repeatedly
    together in each others' company, in sequence.
    They represent a tighter relationship than
    collocates, more like multi-word units or groups
    or phrases. (I call them clusters because groups
    and phrases already have uses in grammar and
    because simply being found together in software
    doesn't guarantee they are true multi-word
    units.) Biber (2000) calls them "lexical
    bundles". (Scott, 2004)

26
clusters in AT (set 2) frequency
Cluster func. freq. texts
IN THE PRESENT STUDY text 208 127
RECEIVED IN REVISED FORM admin 188 188
IN THE PRESENCE OF text 177 82
ON THE OTHER HAND text 159 121
INFECTED WITH T CONGOLENSE content 118 24
AN GAMBIAE S L content 116 11
FOR THE PRESENCE OF text 112 67
FOR THE DIAGNOSIS OF text 110 61
THE END OF THE text 101 54
WERE FOUND TO BE text 95 61
27
in the present study
azar risk (Bern et al., 2005). In the present
study, however, higher li tinguishes species B,
C and E. In the present study, the differences
in at VDIV (Ohashi et al., 1992). In the present
study, the ISS1 and ISS2 ome of respective
populations. In the present study we demonstrate
that evels have a circadian rhythm. In the
present study, they were measured scussion 4.1.
Thyroid function In the present study, signs and
symptoms de (Dissanayake et al., 1992). In the
present study we assayed a recomb 1997
Ferragut et al., 1998). In the present study, we
monitored IgG-T Z and (3-d-glucan demonstrated
in the present study seems to be in a go
Luzna-Lyskov et al., 2000). In the present
study, we showed that tre binant fusion protein
was used in the present study. Briefly, DNA
seque 1997 Hrckova et al., 2007). In the
present study, the effect of comb most important
exposure factor in the present study. In
conclusion, ou nd IgG4 isotypes were observed
in the present study. Indeed, high level ntense
mosquito bite exposure. In the present study, no
direct estimate ical conditions. 4. Discussion
In the present study, we detected IgE an n more
than 9 of mature eggs. In the present study,
COPT was the serol ong the retinoids
investigated in the present study, it seems that
9cis l.,1999a,b, 2000, 2003, 2005). In the
present study too, at least four equently
induce growth arrest. In the present study we
demonstrated tha ween the rural and urban areas
in the present study. In conclusion, CE
28
Acta Tropica clusters - detail
  • PAST_adv (1) In the present study with
    Trypanosoma b. gambiense isolates, a few
    modifications were introduced.
  • PAST_adv (1) In the present study we demonstrated
    that cis-DDP induced a stage dependent cell cycle
    arrest being the promastigotes and axenic
    amastigotes blocked at the S and G2 phase,
    respectively.
  • PAST_adv (2) However, it should be noted that the
    dosages of SP and chloroquine reported in the
    present study were based on self-report by the
    respondents
  • PAST_pm (2) Temperatures in the mosquito cages in
    the present study were maintained at a mean
    minimum of 24C
  • PRES_adv (2) Thus, among the retinoids
    investigated in the present study, it seems that
    9cisRA is the best JH-mimic tested.

29
BNC clusters (detail)
  • PRES_adv (1) In the present study we go beyond
    this result by making controlled B I -B II
    transitions involving most of the dinucleotide
    junctions of the dodecamer and discussing both
    the energetic and conformational aspects of such
    transitions
  • PRES_adv (2) Extrapolating these results to human
    diets, the lowest calcium concentration used in
    the present study (25 micromol/g) reflects a
    daily intake of calcium of about 12.5 mmol (500
    mg)
  • PRES_adv (2) There would, however, have been at
    least two problems with using this method in the
    present study.
  • PRES_pm (2) The percentages of children in the
    present study who had detectable neutralising
    antibody against poliovirus types 1, 2, and 3
    after three doses of OPV are similar to
    percentages reported from other developing
    countries

30
Acta Tropica typology
TEXT Time
PAST_adv Count 74 63.79
PAST_pm Count 5 4.31
PAST_total 79 68.1
PRES_adv Count 28 24.14
PRES_pm Count 8 6.90
PRES_total 36 31.04
NF_Count 1 0.86
Grand Count 116  
31
BNC academic articles (mainly Lancet) typology
TEXT Time
PRES_adv Count 18 22.58
PRES_pm Count 4 58.06
PRES_total 22 80.64
PAST_adv Count 7 6.45
PAST_pm Count 2 12.90
PAST_total 9 19.35
Grand Count 31
32
an ELF model?
  • There is a strong past tense association with an
    important discourse organising cluster such as
    "in the present paper".
  • The past form were is a keyword in the AT corpus.
  • Is there an emerging ELF norm which accepts this
    variant as a predominant form?
  • If this is the case, which instances of language
    in use should constitute acceptable models for
    use in English language instruction?

33
choosing the right exemplar
  • In the present study, none of the samples from
    healthy controls was found to be positive for
    anti-hydatid antibody response.
  • The presence of microfilariae in blood was
    independent of subject age in the present study.
  • In the present study, we monitored IgG-TES
    immuno-complexes, levels of which increased
    rapidly within 14 days p.i. and persisted in the
    similar concentrations in the sera of control
    mice.
  • Temperatures in the mosquito cages in the present
    study were maintained at a mean minimum of 24C
    and a mean maximum of 28C
  • In the present study too, at least four species
    of human protozoan parasites E.
    histolytica/dispar, E. coli, G. lamblia,
    Cryptosporidium sp. were detected in various fly
    species collected.
  • Such analysis was not feasible in the present
    study

34
and a way forward?
  • Writing pedagogy then becomes a process which
    shifts from teacher-led to student-led analysis
    and description of expert performances, to
    student production of texts based on their work
    as disciplinary apprentices, and finally to their
    informed critiquing of these apprentice texts.
    At each stage in this process, with the teacher's
    support, students are forming hypotheses about
    the nature of the texts they are engaging with
    and the texts they are producing, and working
    towards the acquisition of the linguistic
    expertise that will be necessary if they are to
    establish full professional expertise within
    their profession.
  • (Tribble, 2006)

35
A hanging tale
  • The following suggestion was made to the editors
    of Acta Tropica
  • to clarify emerging models for lingua franca
    writing in the sciences, by
  • assessing the extent to which English language
    use in Acta Tropica has changed over time
  • describing and accounting for the impact of
    linguistic input in the peer reviewing and
    editorial processes (guidelines / peer review
    feedback / author response)
  • profiling the extent to which language use in
    Acta Tropica varies in comparison with other
    large populations of edited text in English

36
a hanging tale 1
  • Dear Dr Tribble,
  • I am the publisher responsible for Acta Tropica
    and other Parasitology journals within the Life
    Sciences division at Elsevier.
  • Your request to use Acta Tropica as a basis for
    your study into language usage in scientific
    communication has been passed onto me from Prof.
    XXX.
  • I have discussed this with the Director of
    Publishing within my area, but I am sorry to say
    that we will not be able to approve your request.
  • I do apologise for the inconvenience that this
    may cause.
  • With best regards,

37
a hanging tale 2
  • Dear Dr. Tribble,
  • Thank you for your interest in our journal Acta
    Tropica with regard to developments in English
    language use. As my colleague Mr. XX has informed
    you, unfortunately the journal will not
    participate in the research that you will be
    doing in this area due to the privacy and time
    constraints of their editors and reviewers. I
    would be more than happy to put you in touch with
    other colleagues at Elsevier who have experience
    working with the increasing influx of non-native
    English scientific article submissions and some
    initiatives that Elsevier has developed to adapt
    to these changes. Also, you can find quite a bit
    of information and guidelines on our website
    www.elsevier.com, for example here you can find
    the guidelines for authors
  • http//www.elsevier.com/wps/find/authorsview.autho
    rs/howtosubmitpaper
  • for submitting a paper to an Elsevier journal.
  • If you would be interested in speaking with my
    colleagues, please do not hestitate to contact
    me. I hope that we can support you in your
    research in a relevant and meaningful way.

38
So what next?
  • studies of emerging micro genres

Cluster freq. text
THIS WORK WAS SUPPORTED 83 83
WORK WAS SUPPORTED BY 80 80
WE ARE GRATEFUL TO 75 75
WAS SUPPORTED BY THE 72 72
39
and further studies
  • a bigger collection (now over 2 million words and
    rising)
  • and (somehow) an account of literacy practices in
    a narrow discourse community?

40
References
  • Ammon, U., (2000) "Towards more fairness in
    international English linguistic rights of
    non-native speakers?" in Phillipson, R. (ed.)
    Rights in language. London Lawrence and Erlbaum
    111-116
  • Biber, D., S. Johansson, G. Leech, S. Conrad and
    E. Finegan, (2000) Longman Grammar of Spoken and
    Written English, Harlow Addison Wesley Longman
  • Halliday, M.A.K., (1989) Spoken and written
    language, Oxford Oxford University Press
  • Scott, Mike. 1999. Wordsmith Tools version 4.
    Oxford Oxford University Press.
  • Scott, M. and C.Tribble (2006) Textual
    Patterns Key words and corpus analysis in
    language education, Amsterdam/Philadelphia John
    Benjamins
  • Tribble, C. (2006) "Written in, written out who
    sets the standards for academic writing?" in
    Usó-Juan, E., and A. Martínez-Flor (eds) Current
    trends in learning and teaching the four skills
    within a communicative approach, Berlin Mouton
    de Gruyter pps 447-471
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