Style of popular scientific prose
The definition of the terms "style" and "stylistics". Discussion of the peculiarities of scientific style and popular scientific prose, their differences and what they have in common. Style shaping properties: expressive means and stylistic devices.
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Style of Popular Scientific Prose
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Table of Content
Chapter 1. Scientific style
1.1 Popular scientific prose style
1.2 Style shaping properties
Chapter 2. Peculiarities of popular scientific prose
Language we use in any specific situation varying according to the purpose and content of the situation. Different functional styles characterize a certain situation. I.R. Galperin, the well-known Russian linguist, distinguishes the following functional styles:
1) The belles-letters style
2) Publicist style
3) Newspaper style
4) Scientific prose style
5) The style of official documents.
In this term paper we deal with the scientific prose style and its sub-style, popular scientific prose style.
According to the point of view of McMillan, the purpose of science as a branch of human activity is to disclose by research the inner substance of things and phenomena of objective reality and find out the laws regulating them, thus enabling man to predict, control and direct their future development in order to improve the material and social life of mankind [McMillan, 2001: 314]. Scientific prose helps us to reveal and understand all the features of scientific phenomenon as they are.
The goal of this term paper is to analyse stylistics of the popular scientific prose.
To attain the target, we set the following objectives:
1) To distinguish scientific and popular scientific literature
2) To outline style shaping properties of popular scientific prose
3) To examine the corpus of different articles to reveal the communicative and linguistic peculiarities
4) To look into stylistic devices that are used in popular prose literature
This theme is very interesting for us, because we are living in the age of advanced technology, when achievements of scientific and technological progress strongly come into lives of ordinary people and science becomes part and parcel of mass culture elements. Particularly, popular scientific literature is called to fulfill this important social order and to introduce vast masses to the achievements of science.
The object of the term paper is popular scientific prose.
The subject of the term paper is stylistic peculiarities of popular scientific prose.
All the illustrative examples were taken mostly from journals УNational GeographicФ and УScientific AmericanФ.
The methodological basis is founded on the works of such distinguished linguists as I.R. Galperin, W. Gilman, A.L. Nazarenko, D. Crystal, O. Lehtsalu and others.
My term paper consists of Introduction, two chapters, conclusion and bibliography.
style popular scientific prose
Chapter 1. Scientific style
1.1 Scientific prose style
For the further analysis the terms `style' and `stylistics' should be defined. But the term `style' is polysemantic. Tentatively, language style maybe defined as a more-or-less coherent system, a subsystem (or microsystem) within a language, consisting of certain lexico-phraseological, grammatical and phonetical resources of that language, which are used selectively and purposefully to express ideas in given situation [Lehtsalu, 1973: 13].
The study of language styles is the concern of linguo-stylistics. Put in another way, linguo-stylistics is a branch of stylistics which deals with the expressive and stylistic means of language, their relation to the idea or ideas expressed, and the classification and peculiarities of the existing styles of a language. Linguo-stylistics and literary stylistics complement each other and together they constitute what may be called general stylistics [Lehtsalu, 1973: 13].
We are interested in functional styles, specifically, in scientific prose style.
I.R. Galperin describes functional styles of language (FS) as types of texts that are distinguished by the pragmatic aspect of the communication [Galperin, 2014: 9].
The aim of the scientific prose style is to describe a phenomenon of science precisely, to reveal all the peculiarities of subject in question. The language of scientific prose is determined by a desire to prove hypothesis, to state laws, define concepts, etc. Hence the main problem is to establish a clear and logical progression of ideas and define the subject-matter precisely. For the purpose of precision the clarity, logical coherence, specific vocabulary and special syntax are employed [Shakkhovsky, 2008: 86].
Scientific language is used in reporting an experiment, in discussing a problem, in giving instructions as to how an experiment should be performed, in stating laws, or in defining concepts. It is generally agreed that the main problem for the scientist, as far as his use of language is concerned, is to define his subject matter precisely and to establish a clear and logical progression of ideas [Crystal, 1969: 251].
As far as the vocabulary of scientific prose is concerned, we can say that special terms and professional words are an indispensible part of vocabulary, as well as Greek and Latin words and forms (datum-data, formula-formulae, etc):
e.g. УMemorizing to-do lists and mathematical formulae came much later in our intellectual, social, and and neurological development.Ф
e.g. УThe rhyme-formulae of the latter six lines are here curiously varied. Working those formulae out is a college calculus problem.Ф
Most words are of abstract meaning:
УThe progress which has been and is being made in human institutions and in human character may be set down, broadly, to a natural selection of the fittest habits of thought and to a progress of enforced adaptation of individuals to an environment which ahs progressively changed with the growth of the community and with the changing institutions under which men have lived.Ф [Shakkhovsky, 2008: 88]
Polysemantic words are avoided, as the exposition of scientific ideas requires clarity and exactness.
The terms used in any specific science is something referred to as `jargon'. Scientists attempt to establish themselves as professionals of their disciplines by using specialist terminology. However, jargon sometimes decreases readability and distracts readers from the main focus of the paper. When using jargon, it is very important to keep the audience in mind, and consciously consider when and how often to utilize specialized vocabulary. Here is the example of the `jargon' usage:
УHeavy metalsФ - The term is often used to describe toxic metal elements such as mercury and lead. However, a reader has no way to quantify how much an atom must weigh to be considered Уheavy,Ф and there are nontoxic elements with greater atomic weights than either mercury or lead. Unless the reader already knows exactly which metals the jargon describes, the term offers little clarification.
The goal of using special terms and scientific words is to avoid ambiguity in scientific texts, i.e. to achieve clarity. The author of УThe Language of Science, William Gilman, claims, that:
УThe boldness of clarity, then, is our goal - clarity in sentence and paragraph, clarity in organization of the whole. Clarity is demanded of the person writing in the fields of science and technology. Clarity is also required from many others who don't work right inside those fields but have to deal with them. Clarity first. After that be a virtuoso if you like. Fancy flourishes are not forbiddenЕ
Whether in press releases, magazine articles, professional-society papers, technical books, research proposals, or simply progress reports to management, the need is for clarity, clarity.Ф [Gilman, 1961: 4]
An example of ambiguity and its correction is offered in the same book. Clarity is achieved owning to syntax:
Wrong: УThis is a process to convert low-grade iron ore, which has been found expensive. (The УwhichФ portion was evidently tacked on as an afterthought, then a comma inserted to cure the trouble, but the УwhichФ still leaves us guessing. What's costly - the process or the ore?
Right: This process to convert low-grade iron ore has been found expensive.
Or another right variant: This process converts low-grade iron ore, but has been found expensive. [Gilman, 1961: 97]
W. Gilman argues that writing a scientific text is communication and communication demands clarity. Now we can be sure, that ambiguity creates a lot of problems, for example, misunderstanding, and to avoid it we should use all the components of the sentence precisely and in a logic way. The scientific prose is strictly logical; hence abundant use of connective elements with subordination prevailing over coordination.
The style of scientific prose is predominantly unemotional. Mostly it deals with the facts:
e.g. УThe purified peroxide, which is generally crystalline, is added to the aromatic solvent, and the decomposition is effected by heating, usually to about 70-80 ∞C.Ф
To achieve clarity it deprives emotionality. Yet emotiveness is not entirely excluded, especially in the humanities, in which a certain element of emotiveness makes itself evident. It may be felt in the choice and use of words (intensifiers are frequent makers), but stylistic devices employed are trite, not original:
e.g. УThe contrivance, admirable in a theoretical point of view, was found impracticable.Ф
Side by side with emotionlessness we can say that scientific prose style is impersonal.
The desire to achieve impersonality when proving scientific ideas is reflected in frequent use of passive constructions:
УIt has been investigated by Horner and Naumann (1954) and Huisgen and Nakaten (1954), and was found to involve a primary dissociation into phenyl and triphenylmethyl radicals and nitrogen, in the manner indicated in equation.Ф [Crystal, 1969: 252]
The goal of this is to achieve neutralism and objectivity of studying phenomenon making the author a detached observer. It may lead to overdoing accessive detachment.
Scientists by the way are themselves aware of the dangers of too much complexity, abstraction, and impersonality in their work, as the following quotation from the Handbook for Chemical Society Authors shows:
УSentences such as УReducation of the ketone was effected catalyticallyФ (which should read УHydrogenation of the ketone gaveФ) suffer from the abstract word and the passive voiceЕBefore the final typing every paper should be scrutinized to see whether it cannot be improved by eliminating abstract words and passive voices.Ф [D.Crystal, 1969: 251]
All these peculiarities of the scientific prose style are common and encapsulated in strong frames, but the concept of its sub-style, popular scientific prose style, is much varied in terms of using stylistic devices. It brings us to the popularization of science. It is directly related to the nature and structure of the text as well as the usage of language means. This allows us to speak about specific characteristics of popular scientific prose style representation.
Different researchers name them in different ways, but all of them certainly include two opposite parameters: objectivity (authenticity, clarity, which we discussed earlier and which are the attributes of scientific prose style) and subjectivity (such as vividness, emotionality, subjective evaluation etc.) [Kirichenko, 1991: 23].
This happens when popular scientific literature having a scientific fact as the object of description, makes an extensive use of fiction УarsenalФ. That is why popular scientific literature lies on the border of two spheres of the language usage: science and verbal art.
Dynamic system of language impacts such stylistic features as simplicity and artistry of representation. These means are not independent and play subsidiary role in the popular scientific literature contributing to the achievement of the main aim - introducing to the reader serious scientific information in a popular and interesting way [Nazarenko, 2004: 8].
In the next section we will discuss style shaping properties which include expressive means and stylistic devices.
1.2 Style shaping properties
Linguistic science points out that the most important thing in stylistics is the interrelation of the means of expression and the subject-matter, i.e. of the expressive means of a language and the idea expressed.
When speaking of the expressive means of language, we think of the arrangement of sentences, clauses, words, and the choice of words which not only convey the idea to the reader or listener, but simultaneously provoke the desired emotional reaction from him.
The expressive means of a language may be classified as:
1. Lexical (the various stylistic aspects of words and phraseological units, such as poetic words, archaic words, neologisms, etc.)
2. Grammatical (mainly syntactical; inversion elliptical sentences, repetition in exited speech, etc.)
3. Phonetic (euphony, intonation, rhythm, etc.)
Any expressive means may be used in this way for specific artistic purposes, and when so employed, it is described as a stylistic device. The latter may be regarded as an artistic transformation of an ordinary language phenomenon.
Expressive and stylistic means were mentioned above, thus we should define meanings of some of them used in scientific and popular scientific literature.
Metaphor is transference of meaning based on the similarity of two notions. Metaphors are hardly ever used in scientific texts. However, to express one's ideas in a more graphic and convincing way, metaphors are sometimes resorted to. It is in popular-scientific texts that metaphors are more frequently used to make scientific problems more accessible to the reader:
e.g. УThe buffeting-about of the incoming word often results, in the end, in a single surviving and fixed shapeФ. [Lehtsalu, 1973: 22]
In this case the metaphor Уbuffeting-about of theЕФ strikes by its strength and emotionality.
Besides, popular scientific texts are full of trite metaphors:
e.g. УThankfully, the Ziara Ringshows that there's a better, bigger and bolder way to win her heartФ (National Geographic, 2004)
Metaphors in scientific texts are used with a view to add figurativeness to the description.
Epithet is a figure of speech denoting a permanent or temporary quality of a person, thing, idea or phenomenon and characterizing it from the point of view of subjective perception. An epithet can be expressed by an attributive word, phrase, combination of words or sometimes by a whole sentence [Lehtsalu, 1973: 32].
An epithet has always an emotional meaning or connotation. The emotional meaning may either accompany the denotational meaning or it may exist independently. Due to their main function of subjective assessment or evaluation epithets are seldom used in scientific prose with the exception of articles of a polemic character. However, in scientific prose style epithets are used widely to interest a reader. They literally strike a person by the vividness and emotional charge:
e.g. УI couldn't stop reading about the freakish gargantuan tornado overtaking the doomed scientists and other victims.Ф
e.g. УUnder Mandela's charmed guidance, South Africa began the post-apartheid period as a country beguiled by its own miraculous stepping back from the brink of a full-blown race warФ. (National Geographic, 2003)
In contrast to scientific prose style popular scientific prose is very emotive. First of all, a form Уquestion-answerФ is used to establish the contact with readers and to govern readers' attention. This creates the atmosphere of dialog and the reader becomes interested in subject:
e.g УWill you help save big cats, preserve ancient civilizations, and protect our precious oceans? By including National Geographic in your estate plans, you will share in Alexander Graham Bell's vision of preserving our planet for generations to come.Ф (National Geographic, 2005)
In the next example the emotionality of the text is also emphasized by the usage of exclamation mark:
e.g. УSo now we want to know, where do these bees live? How far do they travel? Do they like only the big forest, or can they live in the small bits and corridors too? Many questions!Ф (National Geographic, 2004)
It is important to know that popularization of science started long time ago, so in XVII century Cyrano de Bergerac made a considerable contribution in popularization of science. He tried to Уdisguise У the complexity of new heliocentric theory of our Galaxy and represented it as a fairy-tale about the journey to the Moon and the Sun [Nazarenko, 2000: 56].
Such way of representation can quickly interest the reader and draw his or her attention to the subject.
The interesting fact is that stylistic devices are often used not only to give vividness, but lead to the exactness of described phenomenon.
Even Descartes used in his treatises such stylistic devices as simile and metaphors for the illustrative purposes in order to make abstract notions more comprehensible:
УThroughout my writings I have made it clear that my method imitates that of the architect. When an architect wants to build a house which is stable on ground where there is a sandy topsoil over underlying rock, or clay, or some other firm base, he begins by digging out a set of trenches from which he removes the sand, and anything resting on or mixed in with the sand, so that he can lay his foundations on firm soil. In the same way, I began by taking everything that was doubtful and throwing it out, like sand; and then, when noticed that it is impossible to doubt that a doubting or thinking substance exist, I took this as the bedrock on which I could lay the foundations of my philosophy.Ф
Just an architect who wants to build a stable house must find a firm base for it, so Descartes who wants to establish stable knowledge must doubt everything in order to find a firm base to his beliefs [Thagard, 2004: 505]. In this abstract Descartes employs simili which is used to appeal to the reader's imagination, thus inspiring his interest in the scientific subject. For the same effect a popular scientific writer employs colorful descriptions:
e.g. УHe is a short man, with a kind face, a trim beard, and eyes that sparkle yet remain distant, as if peering somewhere else, a distant horizon or a place in the past where he dared not to go.Ф (National Geographic, 2003)
All the examples above show us that reading the popular scientific literature will not drive us to boredom, because the usage of stylistic devices makes the texts interesting and vivid.
In this chapter we discussed the differences between scientific prose style and its sub-style, popular scientific prose. We highlighted that scientific prose is defined by clarity, logical representation, monosematic words, special vocabulary and unemotionality. At the same time in popular scientific prose a lot of stylistic devices are employed to create vividness to interest the reader.
In the next chapter we will directly discuss some peculiarities and the examples of the usage of different stylistic devices in popular scientific literature.
Chapter 2. Peculiarities of popular scientific prose
The core of any popular scientific text is terminology, the main characteristics of which are the aspiration for unambiguity and absence of emotional expressive evaluative connotations, i.e. the capability of precise expression of specific notions.
Investigating popular scientific texts we can notice the usage of specific terms even in the texts, which are orientated on the reader rather distant from the concerned field.
e.g. УThe child begins his game of world-picture modelling at some intermediate period previous to parturition and his traumatic expulsion into the external world. It is as difficult to define this period as it is to define when the foetus has become human. One might be tempted to define it as the period when the nervous system has developed. That will not do either: there are many species with nothing like man's nervous system who have no difficulty in carrying on the game of life, of trial and error, of hypothesis formulation, testing of the hypothesis or its retention...Ф [Sherman, 1989: 636]
In the next examples the usage of specific terms is evident:
e.g. УWell, if you start with 1 and continue doubling indefinitely, you will have a series of numbers which, by appropriate addition, can be used to express any finite number at all.Ф
e.g. УTherefore, instead of writing out all the 2's, it would be convenient to note how many 2's are being multiplied together by using an exponential method. У
e.g. УIn the case of mechanics, the outstanding achievement was a successful Quantitative description of the motion of freely falling bodies.Ф
e.g. УNot only was this description sophisticated and exact, but it also introduced the first Quantitative concept for measuring change of state of motion, that of acceleration.Ф [Hartfopf, 1965: 17]
This is as far as the similarity with the scientific prose is concerned.
To involve the reader in the process of thinking and discussion many authors aspire to establish a dialog between him or her and the reader. The explicity of dialog in popular scientific texts is achieved by the usage of interrogative and hortatory sentences, and personalized manner of narration.
Interrogative constructions are visible part of the dialog and their aim is to provoke the reader's response and involve him or her in the discussion and to enhance the activity of perception:
e.g. УHow can we measure a tiny difference?Ф
e.g. УHow is it possible?Ф
e.g. УDo you remember the problem on paper sizes in Chapter 1?ї
e.g. УA question comes immediately to mind: Did the pattern of mass arise out of logical necessity, or was it simply random?Ф
e.g. УWhat is this force and where did it come from?Ф
(National Geographic, 2003)
Among these interrogative constructions rhetorical questions are notable for their specific stylistic loading.
Rhetorical question doesn't need an answer, the answer is already included in it. Rhetorical question is put with the aim of attraction of the reader's attention, increasing the emotional tone of the narration and making the reader draw a conclusion himself or herself:
УAnd grammar? Who needs the eternal hair-splitting arguments about "shall" and "will" or "which" and "that"? The uselessness of it can be demonstrated by the fact that virtually no one gets it straight anyway. Aside from losing valuable time, blunting a child's reasoning faculties, and instilling him or her with a ravening dislike for the English language, what do you gain? У (Scientific American, 2000)
A chain of rhetorical questions we can find in the next abstract:
УWhat then is time? Is it a devouring monster described by the Reverend Bramston? Or is it an ever-rolling stream bearing everything away to some other place? Or could time be likened to the irascible old gentleman who revenged himself on the Mad Hatter by keeping the time at 6 o'clock tea time all day and every day for months?Ф (Scientific American, 2001)
Thus the author inclines the reader to the necessity of answer, and later he prompts the answer himself or herself preparing the situation when the reader perceives this answer as his own what psychologically contributes to the optimal learning of the fact under discussion.
Constant appeal to the interlocutor is typical for the colloquial speech reflecting in the popular scientific prose in the usage of hortatory sentences:
e.g. УHave a good look at these numbers!
e.g. УDon't be disheartened if you notice that 10' is a power of 10, while V 10 which is exactly the same thing, is a root of 10.
Imagine a large heavy ball rolling slowly across a level floor.Ф [Bakst, 1997: 459]
e.g. УThis we call a "galactic year" or better, a "galyear." (An ugly word, but nevermind!) У
e.g. УThe true value of /тс/ can only be expressed as an infinite series. Alas! But shed no tears! Once л was proved irrational, mathematicians were satisfied.Ф [Bakst, 1997: 842]
This illustrates a maximum orientation on the reader in order to create the `atmosphere of credence' between the author and the reader.
Constant fixed regard to the reader is expressed in the usage of pronouns `you' and `your' instead of `oneФ establishing close contact between the author and the reader:
e.g. УYou can play a large number of gamesФ.
e.g. УHave you ever walked along a railroad track? If you have, you must have noticed that the rails seem to meet far away in a point.Ф
e.g. УFor "three" you could not point to eyes or ears or feet... but you could use three fingers or three pebbles or three sticks.Ф [Carroll, 1968: 60]
e.g. УCan anyone possibly be sorry that all that cute provincial flavor has vanished? Are you sorry that every time you travel out of the state you don't have to throw yourself into fits of arithmetical discomfort whenever you want to make a purchase?Ф [Carroll, 1968: 70]
Slang and colloquial lexicon also contribute to an intimization of narration diminishing the `barrier' of officiality between the author and the reader:
e.g. УBy this point, however, it is just possible that some of you may suspect me of pulling a fast one.Ф
e.g. УWhy it should be called the average value heaven only knows. У
e.g. УNow why on Earth should our unit ratios vary all over the lot, when our number system is so firmly based on 10ї
e.g. УThe lie detector immediately recorded that he was telling a whopping.Ф [Dodgeson, 1972: 167]
e.g. УThis assertion seems at first to be downright nonsense.
e.g. УThe boat kept swaying, pitching, yawing, heaving, rolling and otherwise making a jackass of itself all night long!Ф
a jackass (not fml): a fool
e.g. УThere is no way of estimating and the continuous-creation boys consider its lifetime to be eternal.Ф
e.g. УWhen any symbol (which includes figures, letters or any other squiqgle we may be using) is multiplied by itself it is said to be squared.Ф
(National Geographic, 2005)
e.g. УNewton also showed this central-point business to be true for spheres which consisted of a series of layers...Ф
e.g. УThen along came the Greeks and developed a system of geometry that would have none of this vile lav-down-a-string-and-measure-it-with-a-ruler business.Ф
e.g. УWhat is all this?" comes the fevered demand. "Where does this 'divide by 10' jazz come from?Ф (Scientific American, 2004)
Owning to such representation the reader gets the information in the accessible form.
Creation of the narration expressiveness is one more stylistic method of popular scientific representation.
As we have already mentioned, the authors of popular scientific literature employ a number of stylistic devices and means such as epithets, metaphors, simile to make texts more interesting and vivid. In the extract below taken from УWords in the MindФ, its author, Jean Aitchison, gives some explanations on the concept of Уmental mapsФ in linguistics comparing to some other concepts, a map of the London Underground in particular:
УModel of the mind built by psycholinguists are somewhere in between the concrete models of spacecraft and the abstract models of economists. Perhaps the best analogy is that of a map, which in some fits a `real life' state of affairs and in other ways is quite different. It is obvious that the most useful map is often not an exact representation of the terrain. The well-known map of the London UndergroundЕprovides an elegant way od summarizing essential informationЕIt sacrifices realism but given its purpose is a better map for doing soЕThe map tells us clearly which train-lines connect with stationsЕWe do not expect either the trains of the railways lines to be painted this color. Nor do we expect the distances between stations to be accurately representedЕФ
As it follows the text is rich in words that belong to a normal literary layer of the language. Words magically match the linguistic terms and the concept that the author is explaining here:
УWe are trying, then, to produce a diagram of the connections in the mental lexicon which in some respect comparable to a plan of the London Underground. However, there is one way in which this mental map is quite different. We can go down in the Underground and map the connections between stations. But we cannot view the connections in the mind directly. We are instead in the situation of observers who could watch passengers entering and leaving train stations but could neither enter the system nor communicate directly with the travelersЕФ
This description is the great example of an extended metaphor, which helps us to understand the concept of Уmental mapsФ better.
Scientists who are engaged in humanitarian studies resort to imagery and colorful comparisons that help to clarify abstract ideas transmitted to the addressee through a scientific article or report.
Popular scientific texts abound with a great number of epithets:
e.g. УThe beautiful geometric reasoning was abandoned...ї
e.g. УDescartes demonstrated the power of a remarkable format for constructing a law of nature, the conservative lawФ
e.g. УThe excerpt is an excellent example of Galileo's forensic style.Ф
e.g. У...the belief in pure action at a distance became the supreme test of rationalism.)
e.g. УHe made his first attempt at his celebrated experiment. The familiarity with which most of us are able to use our present-day number system conceals the superb feat of ingenuity that was its creation...Ф (New Scientist, 2007)
e.g. УEuler published a tremendously successful popularization of science in 1768.ї
e.g. УMathematics, which is so often considered to be a shining example of neatness and logic...ї
e.g. У...mankind has nevertheless reached a position of unparalleled domination of the planet.Ф
e.g. УThese three laws, so easily stated, sum up the important results obtained in a prodigious amount of brilliant mental and physical work extending over many decadesФ. (National Geographic, 2004)
We mentioned the usage of metaphors in popular scientific literature. They are used to create vividness of representation and give the information in the accessible way and to describe the fact in question in the understandable manner:
e.g. УSince for more than 2000 years mathematics had been the bastion of truth of non-Euclidean geometry, the triumph of reason, proved to be an intellectual disaster.Ф
e.g. УThe plane, however, is a peculiar pancaked world.Ф
e.g. УGravitational collapse is thus both the midwife and the undertaker of astrophysics.Ф
The planets, however, are mavericks. (American Scientist, 2003)
e.g. УThe President may have picked his gladiator, but there is no need to give him marching orders for a month or two.Ф (About Boeing company)
e.g. УThis /imagination/ has always been the driving wheel of scientific creativity.Ф
e.g. УAnd with the new universe comes a new toss of the cosmic dice...Ф
e.g. УThe operator which usually goes by the cryptic title of "j" could be classed as a kind of abominable snowman of mathematics.Ф
e.g. УIf we agree that numbers used in this way have a touch of "operator blood" in them we must agree that the minus sign is a veritable half-caste.Ф
e.g. УFortunately for our purposes, there is no need to resurrect any of these bygone tribulations.Ф (National Geographic, 2004)
The metaphors in these examples strike the imagination of the reader making him or her create images and understand the subject in question more clear.
Thus we showed how authors employed different stylistic devices and language means to make popular scientific literature colorful and interesting for the reader. A number of language means are called to establish intimate connection between the author and the reader, involving the latter in the scientific discussion.
In this term paper we discussed popular scientific prose style as a part of scientific prose. We described the peculiarities of scientific style and popular scientific prose, their differences and what they have in common. Thomas Andrew argues that the language of science is governed by the aim of the functional style of scientific prose, which is to prove a hypothesis, to create new concepts, to disclose the internal laws of existence, development, relations between different phenomena, etc. The language means used, therefore, tend to be objective, precise, unemotional, and devoid of any individuality; there is a striving for the most generalized form of expression [Thomas, 1990: 245]. At the same time popular scientific style is varied according to the usage of different language means as epithets, metaphors, simile making popular scientific literature emotional, expressive and interesting.
Side by side with the peculiarities above language means are called to establish contact between the author and the reader making the information comprehensible. This intimization leads to an acquirement of knowledge by the reader.
Popularization of science plays a very important role in the modern world giving an access to the essence of things not resorting to high complexity of scientific texts. A person of a particular sphere can become aware of completely different field regarding to popular scientific literature.
Alan Paige Lightman, the American physicist, writer, and social entrepreneur, claims that a real scientist isn't a real scientist if he can't explain his theory to a common barman in order the latter understands it. Thus we can say that popularization of science is even important for the scientists themselves [Hawking, 2003: 208].
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