Private Code

A private code involves putting personal annotations on the text as you write. Some writers do this by Underlining words, phrases, and sentences. Leaving blank areas in the middle of sentences, or a series of symbols such as stars. Using symbols or words in another language. A private code is a sort of map of the thinking you do as you compose the first draft. It is your way of talking to yourself about what needs help without forcing you to slow down and fix it then. A private code permits you...

Recent Example Of Language Change

The evolution of the term used to refer to what we now call 'email' provides an interesting example of ongoing language change. The word has migrated through language changes demonstrating, in turn, the contemporary tendency to Even though the term for electronic mail was first used publicly 1975-1980, the 1984 edition of the Random House dictionary lists only 'electronic data processing' and 'electronic music' with no entry for 'electronic mail'. Then, as the practice of sending mail by...

Abstracts

Every journal and every conference will expect your research paper or proposal to be accompanied by an abstract. The abstract will be read first, and its quick clarity will strongly influence whether or not your work is further considered for publication or for presentation. The abstract is designed to tell a scientific story that is easily understood and can, in turn, be quickly conveyed to others. An abstract is an extract of the essence of your work. Abstracts are not summaries they are more...

Being An Artist

Computers permit us to make beautiful slides They let us use color, insert photographs, and even add motion. However, please be gentle with your audience. Such additions such as color, photographs, or motion are good only if they help your slides be Unfortunately, software programs for creating slides have not, as we hoped, solved the problem of poor slides. However, such programs have made it much easier to create an excellent and memorable set of slides. You are a scientist, and, when you...

Changing Places of Parts of Speech

Traditionally we all like a grammar that can be learned, can be depended upon. This is not how English is. One of its more frustrating characteristics must be the freedom it seems to have to take one part of speech and use it as another. However, this is also one of the glories of English. It has more flexibility than any other language because its syntax easily adapts to new content and allows it to take in new ideas. Nouns Becoming Verbs Nouns Becoming Adjectives Nouns today sometimes change...

Chapter Spreadsheet

This spreadsheet may contain notes on the lengths of sentences in the articles and on the variety of sentence structures. For example, check how frequently sentences start with the subject. Make notes about what words or structures sentences start with when they do not start with the subject. Write down particular structures that catch your eye as effective. Notice how infrequently prepositional phrases are used and when they are used. You may want to eliminate a number of irrelevant ones you...

Characteristics of the Articles You Want to Find

In order to be worth the time you are going to put in analyzing them, articles you choose must have three basic characteristics Each must be published in well-known international journals. Good examples of journals you might consider include Science, Nature, Biochemistry, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie, International Edition in English, Physical Review, Scientific American, and other highly-respected international journals specific to your field. Each must have been...

Choosing Font Styles And Size Of Print Fonts

On slides the simpler fonts, such as 'Arial', are easier to read on a screen than more traditional fonts with serifs, such as 'Times New Roman'. Generally using bold throughout is easiest to read, especially if you have both a large screen and a large audience. At any rate avoid using a variety of serif and non-serif fonts on the same slide in order to avoid distracting the eyes of the audience in ways that hinder their reading and understanding of the slide. Lower-case letters are easier to...

Choosing Titles And Words

A title states the topic of the slide as simply and as briefly as possible. Titles should look like titles Perhaps yours will be enclosed in colored boxes, written in larger print or in all caps. At any rate, in some way your titles must signal clearly that they are titles and that the information they contain is vital to understanding the slide. Titles are clearer and more emphatic if they are written as topics, not as complete sentences. Rarely if ever do good slides...

Clichs

Clich s are over-used idioms and using them is not respected in English. Although such phrases may seem to be colorful and certainly offer a seductive temptation to sound like a native English speaker, don't use them. They are considerably less effective than the simple direct words for which they stand. Clich s in many languages are helpful, and in some languages preferred, but in English they are words once considered original and now regarded as trite. Clich s, in a...

Completing Your Set Of Slides The Credit Slide

An important slide is the one in which you give credit to those who have worked with you or financed your research. If there is time, read these names aloud to give honor. Usually the slide contains only their names and your voice adds titles or other information, such as the institution and country. Often this slide is last, but it can also be first. Placement is unimportant. What is important is that the credit slide is there somewhere so that others always receive appropriate credit.

Contents

Part I Writing Research Articles for Chapter 2 The Art of Creating a Model to Chapter 3 The Art of Editing What You Write 27 Chapter 4 The Art of Dancing with Change 47 Chapter 5 The Art of Writing Abstracts, Proposals, Part II Presenting at International Conferences 73 Chapter 6 The Art of Preparing Slides 75 Chapter 7 The Art of Using Your Voice 85 Chapter 8 The Art of Body Language and Presenting Chapter 9 The Art of Napping at Conferences 105

Creating Your Model

You are about to learn how to create your own system for analyzing the language used today in successful articles. Luckily, you are the type of person who can do this because you are a scientist, and scientists analyze well. First of all, by using a keen eye as you begin to study the language structure of current articles in international science journals, you will discover new things you may not have noticed before. You will realize Science calls for a sudden narrative. Successful articles are...

Determining The Number Of Slides

Here are the steps for determining how many slides you First, assemble the slides you have. Second, arrange them into a good sequence. Third, practice explaining them. Fourth, time yourself as you explain each Ideally each slide is explained in a slow careful voice in a minute (or much less). Fifth, add, subtract, or combine slides so that each can be explained in a minute or less AND the total come within your allotted time.

Disappearing Differences between British English and North American English

In the process of becoming a world language, differences between British and North American English are fast disappearing. Some differences in lexicon exist 'lorry' 'truck', 'torch' 'flashlight', 'boot' 'trunk', 'pudding' 'dessert', 'pram' 'baby buggy', 'nappy' 'diaper', 'sweet' 'candy', 'biscuit' 'cookie', and 'wallet' 'billfold', but none of these are words that appear commonly in science. Few, if any, differences in grammar are found any more. Spelling differences are still noticeable, but...

Dont Read Your Paper Aloud

The only good advice about reading a paper aloud to an audience is 'Don't'. It is boring and ineffective. Possibly at some time in your career you will find it necessary to read a paper to an audience because the person scheduled to present is absent. However never let this happen when you have time to prepare. If against your best wishes you are ever forced to read a paper, the solution is to know the material so thoroughly that you are able to look frequently at the audience, project your...

Ending On Time

Lewis Carroll (1866) in Through the Looking Glass warned '. . . Beware the Jabberwocky . . .' The lack of good timing of your presentation could be your Jabberwocky. Beware. You will be given a certain number of minutes in which to speak. Typically this is 20 minutes, which includes time for someone to introduce you and time at the end for you to answer questions. Be prepared to accept that whatever length of time you are given it will not be enough to explain your research in full detail....

Exclamation Marks

Exclamation marks are seldom if ever seen in professional writing and certainly not in research reports. Instead you must make your emphasis clear by a careful choice of vocabulary. Some languages use exclamation marks in their scientific writing. English does not. Remember if you leave an exclamation mark in, the journal will delete it so do them a favor and delete it yourself. Again, check your spreadsheet and photocopied articles to note that they do not contain exclamation marks.

Eye Contact

Whether you are brave or not, you must appear brave. The easiest way to appear brave - the magic touch of a good presenter - is to look directly at the audience. This gives the impression of being confident about your material. In your personal life you look at people when you talk to them. The secret for success with an audience is to appear to be having a conversation with them. Look at them. Look at those to the left, to the right, in the front, in the back. Watch them intently to show how...

Finding Editing Help

Where should you go to get editing help Professional editors who are not scientists and are unfamiliar with your type of science can be extremely undependable in their choice of improvements. Their ability to edit the kind of English used in newspaper reporting, essays, novels, and personal letters may be excellent, but they are not knowledgeable about the way language is used to report research in science journals. Other services devoted only to science are often of little better help because...

Future Of The Art Of Dancing With Change

English by means of the World Wide Web is spreading into more and more corners of the world, expanding and revising itself through other languages, and gathering new riches. Although English appears to be the strongest horse in today's race to ride across the plains of the planet, all riders should sit firmly in their saddles and keep close eyes on the horizon. One German professor said recently that in science he now thinks better in English than in German. If this should become true of others...

Gender Differences

Male and female voice differences are as socially induced as they are physically caused. Of course, there is a difference between male and female vocal cords. However this would not be such a strong difference had we not been encouraged by our cultures to deliberately pitch our voices high for women and low for men. Women who let their voices go high in their throats instead of deeper into their chests sound a bit like children. Maybe this is intentional maybe not. However, childlike tones of...

Guidelines for Editing Transitions

Three general guidelines can help you when you edit your use of transitions If a current reputable journal article written by an English speaker uses the term, it is probably a good choice. The role of transition words or phrases is to clarify the meaning to readers. This is their only role. Using transitions more than 10-12 times on a full page of text is apt to interfere with, not help, the readers' comprehension. Figure 3.3 'Explainers' Transitions that Indicate Cause and Effect

Keeping An Open Body

Keeping your body open to the audience means keeping the entire front of your body facing the audience as fully, and as much, as possible. An expert will avoid hiding behind a podium or table. Step out. Step close to the audience and make them your friends. Covering the front of your body with your arm s suggests you wish to hide the essence of who you are. Try to keep your arms and gestures open to the audience. Above all, avoid turning your back and speaking at the same time. English has an...

Moving Toward Faster and More Direct Communication

International English seems to be moving toward faster and more direct communication. Many of us may find new trends an annoying use of language even though they get meaning across quickly. An important part of this trend in science journals is the use of active voice instead of passive voice along with the use of simple present tense, both in the name of getting messages across directly and quickly. See, for example, if you agree that the active-voice, present tense sentences in the right...

Practising

Once you have become comfortable with your slides, your voice, and your body, you will have accomplished the basics. Most importantly, you will have timed your speech so that you never have the embarrassment of going over your allotted time. All presenting techniques must be practiced and most scientists would rather do science than practice speaking. However, developing the type of speech-giving persona which suits you only has to be done once. Then it is yours forever, and you can get back to...

Preparation

You have chosen what to say. Now you must practice aloud going through your slides, always timing yourself. You may find you have no choice but to leave out some important material, so save those slides for some other use. Practicing aloud is the only way you can be sure you will stay within the allotted time. You never want to have the experience of having your audience grow restless and annoyed, or forcing the chair of the session to tell you to stop. Once you have...

Presenting at International Conferences

Presenting good research at an international conference is everyone's desire, and many people's fear. However, if you are someone who has been ill-at-ease about presenting, you need be no longer, because the art of being a good presenter is something you can learn. The world of science needs to hear about the exciting and interesting work you do. Telling others about your research gives a gift to other scientists. Soon you will become involved in sharing internationally with many people. When...

Print Size

Keep the size of print for words and numbers as large as possible. In most programs anything smaller than point-18 cannot be read on the screen by all the audience. This may mean you need to make a larger number of slides and put less information on each slide. You want the people at the back of the room to be able to read all the information, including the citations. To do this you must 1) limit the number of words on each slide, and 2) discipline yourself to put as little information on each...

Proposals to Conferences

Writing proposals for presenting at conferences is similar to writing abstracts. Brevity is important but conferences seldom require the proposal to be as short as abstracts for journals. Each conference will have its proposal requirements and deadlines posted on its website. These must be followed carefully. Usually the conference prefers a one-page proposal that can appear in their program. If you are accepted, the conference may then notify you the date for submitting an expanded paper for...

Punctuation

Contemporary English uses less punctuation than was traditionally used. How much internal punctuation is required in sentences is changing, so, when in doubt, check your spreadsheets and photocopied articles. The direction of change, however, is toward simplicity. English has been dropping capital letters for over a hundred years. Early in the 1900s abstract qualities such as 'love', 'nature', 'strength', 'loyalty', and 'beauty'were no longer honored by being capitalized. Soon after the...

Questions

Avoid asking questions of the reader in your paper. This technique has gone out of fashion and is seldom seen. Instead you are expected to make statements that give readers information. It is considered a bit autocratic and controlling to ask questions of people who are not there to answer. Check your spreadsheets and photocopied articles. Perhaps you will be able to find an article in which a question is posed to the reader. However, these are rare and the most you will ever find in an...

Reading To An Audience

The most important thing to remember is that the audience and speaker together form a speech. Avoid reading sentences on slides to the audience. Your audience is highly literate and beyond doubt they can read English faster and better than they can hear it. So try not to insult them by reading to them exactly what is already there for them to see. The solution of course is to use key words or phrases rather than sentences on your slides. This way you can glance at the slide and then put key...

Repetition Redundancy

Editors tell us that repetition (directly repeating the same words) and redundancy (indirect repetition through alternate phrases or synonyms) are common flaws in rejected papers and that these are particularly common in the writing of scientists whose native language is not English. Unfortunately repetition is even less tolerated in science journals than it was years ago. It is understandable that repetition is a language trap easy to fall into because English has a richness of synonyms plus...

Soft Words

Your voice is ready. Now what words will you choose Your spreadsheets and the articles you photocopied will supply you with good choices of verbs, adjectives, and phrases, but they will not supply you with soft words to smooth the audience's way between slides. They are not in the articles you photocopied for these are words used verbally. In final drafts of published research articles, they are edited out as extraneous language. But now you need them. You need the very...

Spelling

North American spelling has become more common than British among the majority of the world's English-language users. A glance at the journal you plan to submit an article to will show you which spelling the journal prefers. Which you choose is unimportant as long as you are consistent. A journal will not reject your manuscript because you use British not North American spelling, or vice versa. Table 4.1 shows some remaining differences in spelling although these are of little concern anymore...

Spreadsheet

This spreadsheet may contain a list of appropriate varieties of the verbs you find along with notes about the situations in which they were used. Finding correct, varied, and interesting verbs to use in sentences about research procedures is one the most difficult writing problems a scientist encounters. The accuracy of the meaning of your sentences and paragraphs will be driven by the choice you make of verbs. This list will be valuable to you. Use it and keep adding to it. Though this be...

Stress And Accent

Linguists and dictionaries have not yet agreed upon exact pronunciations in either standard British English or standard American English, but they usually agree on placement of stress. So match your use of stress to that of some native speaker of English and you have relatively little to worry about. If you have the stress right, you should not waste your time by worrying about whether or not you have some kind of accent. Everyone has an accent. Even a person born and raised within an...

The Art of Body Language and Presenting Smoothly

What an amazing amount of courage it takes for any of us to stand before an audience. Every speaker, no matter how famous, needs bravery to speak to an audience. Your bravery is increased because you are able to communicate in two languages The language of speech and the language of the body. Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt. - Shakespeare Measure for Measure Act I, scene iv Your stance, how you move, and your facial and hand gestures...

The Art of Preparing Slides

As soon as you know you are going to speak, begin by preparing your slides. Choose titles, key words, graphics, citations, and think about color and design. Everything will become easier once you have prepared the slides. Unknown to you, all the time you are preparing slides, your mighty subconscious mind is preparing the ground for the words with which you will explain your slides. As you create your slides you are like a farmer planting seeds from which a garden will grow. Today most...

The Art of Using Your Voice

The tune of English may be different than the music of the language in which you usually speak. If so you may have to learn to sing a new melody - a melody in which stress is vitally important. English is a stress-timed language more than a syllable-timed language. So, although pronunciation is important, it will have less effect on whether or not your English is understood than using the correct stress will. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears

The Final Result

You want to make every effort to complete your slides so that the final result looks like a set. Perhaps you are using several slides you have used in the past. Fine, but now redo them so that they match the others in this presentation. Fortunately the ability to scan in material and the help of computer software make it easy to redo old slides so that they become a professional-looking part of a set. So, take the time to make your slides have some common elements that help them look like a...

The Mysterious Word

Perhaps international change will be able to destroy the grounds for the myth that correct use of the word 'the' can only be understood by native speakers of English. However, today this word is used by native speakers of English with less consistency and more mystery than most non-native speakers want to tolerate. The articles 'a' and 'an' are easy to use correctly compared to the mysterious and rather noble-sounding 'the'. A frustrating aspect of understanding the use of 'the' is that...

The Next Drafts

In your first draft you established the sequence of ideas and events. Now, determine where you should use paragraphing to help the reader understand the divisions of your sequence. Next, check all the places in your first draft where you used your private code. Replace all non-English words and refine the problems. Begin to turn to your spreadsheets for help. Work with them in whatever order you prefer, checking carefully through your manuscript with each spreadsheet and rewriting as you go....

The Off Button

The most important part of a laser is the Off button. Even some world-famous scientists have shown they do not understand the use of the Off button. Instead they have used a dancing, jumping light as they talk. The light flashes The audience can hardly hear or see the good science because their eyes try to follow the path of light as it sweeps irrationally around the screen. The speaker knows what the light is trying to emphasize, but the audience does not. Consequently, the audience's...

Unnecessary Explanation or Description

An important form of unnecessary language in a research article is the presence of additional information, which is interesting and fun to write but which is irrelevant to the results being reported. Through a careful use of your spreadsheets, you may have already eliminated this type of lengthy explanation, but, if not, you need to scan again to be certain your manuscript has avoided using More background or history than the journal to which you plan to send normally prints. Too many details...

Use of Color

International conferences yield both good and poor examples of the use of color. Next time you attend a conference note how color is used on the slides that are easiest for your eyes to understand. Make notes of ideas for your next set of slides, especially techniques that invite your slides to look like a set rather than a random assortment of slides. Each computer program has background colors for slides. Pale colors, such as pale yellow, make a more interesting background than a plain...

Using A Database Published After Ce

The final step in the art of dancing with language change is to use the music of a recent dictionary to accompany you. The early part of this new century has seen English adding words and altering word meanings at an unprecedented rate. Further, linguists predict this rate of change will increase as English continues to expand into a global language in an international world. Writers of science must realize the value of checking on the age of their language database, whether in a book or on a...

Using Your Spreadsheets

Begin to use them by organizing the information on the spreadsheets in such a way that you can refer to them easily. Then as you begin writing you will keep an ongoing sheet of particular words or phrases about which you need more information. Perhaps you will make further spreadsheets, which will extend and complete your model for writing a successful scientific paper. Keep the spreadsheets. Use them. Modify them by adding new information and discarding data...

Wit

Scholarly wit is highly valued in good scientific writing. However, using wit successfully requires a superb knowledge of the English language. Successful wit in a science article is accomplished through an avoidance of redundancy and a lively choice of words. The short length and requirements of research articles seldom afford room for wit even in the hands of an expert. Unfortunately wit is culturally dependent, which in this case means achieving a successful...

Your Conference Persona

Now you are ready to practice your whole conference persona. One way to do this is to imagine that three walls of an empty room represent your audience and the fourth wall the screen behind you. Imagine the three walls are rows of interested scientists. Now tell them your story by explaining your slides to them. Glance only briefly at your slides on the screen behind you. Keep your body, as much as possible, turned toward the audience. Maintain eye contact with your imaginary audience, talk,...

Your First Draft

The first draft can be written partially or completely in whatever language is easiest for you. It does not need to be written in English because the purpose of a first draft is to establish the skeleton, the bones, of your article. Your goal at this point is to get all your ideas down and, especially, to establish the sequence of ideas. While you are writing the first draft, whether it is in another language, partly in English, or completely in English, you should mark it with a private code...

The Art of Dancing with Change

English is destined to be in the next and succeeding centuries more generally the language of the world than Latin was in the last or French is in the present age. The reason of this is obvious, because the increasing population in America, and their universal connection and correspondence with all nations will, aided by the influence of England in the world, whether great or small, force their language into general use. - John Adams, American colonies, 1780 Most native speakers of English...

The Voice Of Science

Congratulations, you have polished the language of your manuscript. Your paper is a clarion call to scientists like yourself You have modified sentences, evaluated the use of transitions, eliminated excess language, improved vocabulary, and checked the consistency of tenses. Your readers can now rely on the accuracy of your words because you have made your message clear to all the innocent scientists of the world who were not in the lab with you. You have remembered that writers forget their...

Organizing the Sequence of Your Ideas

The sequence in which you present your ideas is basic to the success of your paper. Attempt to get the sequence established before you begin the actual writing of the paper. This sounds easier than it is. Organizing a clear, lucid sequence can be difficult because in scientific research a number of things appear to need to be told simultaneously. Since they cannot be told simultaneously, this is beyond doubt the most difficult part of writing a first draft and one that needs to be solved before...

Adding Emphasis

Add emphasis to your slide through the use of color and by putting the most important information in a larger print size, down to the least important in smaller size. Take care that even your smallest print can be read by the audience, making use of abbreviations where necessary. Then make your choices consistent throughout the set of slides. Italics are sometimes used effectively to add emphasis. However underlining is not effective. A form of emphasis that is seldom considered to be in good...

Trends In International English

Ever since the advent of the World Wide Web, societies have reeled under the impact of needing to communicate rapidly and effectively with other countries. In the world-wide effort to improve communication, we have only begun to establish what may become known as international English. A Cherokee chief in the 1800s called English the language of deception. To whatever degree this was, or is, true of English, it is not a valuable characteristic in science. Scientists around the world desire to...

Your Final Draft

Now, at last it is time to create the final draft in which you edit your manuscript, to make it as good as you have dreamed it could be.You are ready to practice the art of editing. To unpathed waters, undreamed shores. - Shakespeare Winters Tale Act IV, scene iv Without editors, writers are nothing but makers of lace. - C. Shields 2003 Unless, Random House of Canada, 177 Who will help you edit Certainly not editors of scientific journals Editorial staffs of journals do not provide this...

Emphasizing Meaning With Intensifiers

The impact of messages becomes stronger when writers avoid the addition of intensifiers, such as 'really', 'actually', 'truly'. These words add an almost slippery flavor to a research report. Such words belong in narrative writing, and a reader who finds them in science may withdraw in suspicion. Check your photocopied articles to see if these words ever appear. The best advice is to eliminate them in your final edit. They are good words to use socially, and are fine even in professional...

Editing Verb Tenses

The final and most tedious edit is to examine each verb tense in the paper for agreement and consistency. This should be done after all other revisions and edits have been made. While you are conducting this final tense check, do not let yourself pause to consider anything else in the manuscript. Even teachers of English easily overlook inconsistencies in tense when they let their concentration stray while they are doing a tense check. The most common tense in scientific writing today is the...

Completing a First Draft

In the first draft you should put little effort into details such as getting vocabulary right, guarding against repeated language, checking tenses, evaluating transitions. Instead, whenever you fear you may not be making a good choice, use your private code to mark the place, and move on. At this point you should not be interested in polished language. You have now completed a first draft. It is far from a finished manuscript but it is an accomplishment of which you should be proud. Take a...

Passive Voice

Contemporary writing in science has become more and more direct and, as it has, the use of passive voice has been fast disappearing. Check your spreadsheets, or go back to the photocopied articles, to discover if you find verbs in passive voice. Change any you find to active voice, for examples see Table 2. The journals esteem active voice and direct statements. You will want to check your final draft for sentences which begin Also check for all sentences that start with the word 'It' when 'It'...