Professor Pedantic 教授的考究學問

The professor awaits your query on academic writing, though in all honesty, he doesn’t have a lot of time for you. He is a tenured full professor and working on yet another magnificent academic tome. Even so, he has graciously consented to entertain your question. Submit it and prepare to be edified.

QUESTION: I’ve been told that, if I use some big and long words, I will get a better grade. True?

Well, I suppose that depends on the professor grading your paper, doesn’t it? Every profession has its clunkers. Don’t count on your prof being seduced by ostentatious words—though, in all honesty, too many are. You did well in coming to me for an answer.
我相信,這應該是取決於你的教授給分數的標準,對吧! 每一個專業領域都有專業術語,別全盤接受你的教授講究艱深、華麗詞藻的影響,雖然,老實說,很多教授的確頗好此道。聰明的你既然來問我的意見,就讓我來給你一個答案吧!

I am curious: What is a big word? Is “doctorate” a bigger word than “doctor?” Yes, doctorate is comprised of more letters, but is it weightier? Which takes up more space in a room, a doctorate or a doctor? The size of a word is measured in its import, its relevancy, its relationship to the words surrounding it. Tell me, which word in the following sentence has the largest impact upon a reader: “Grandchildren gratefully die.” I would argue the shortest word in that sentence is a 20-pound hammer to the heart.
我很好奇,什麼叫做艱深的字? "doctorate" 比 "doctor"更有深度嗎? 的確,"doctorate" 包含較多的字母。然而,它在學術領域的權重夠份量嗎? "a doctorate" 與 "a doctor"那一個應該得到較多的尊重? 一個字的地位存乎於它本身的意義、關連性以及是否用字的精巧可貫穿全文主旨。你來試著說說看,下列的句子 “Grandchildren gratefully die”,以一個讀者的眼光,那一個字具有較大的影響力? 我會說,句中最短的字,將能重重的敲入我們的心,帶來極大的震撼。

In an academic paper, the heft of a word is measured in how forcefully the word conveys meaning. Appropriate word length is calibrated in how long the word echoes in the mind of the reader. So don’t use “humongous” if “big” will do. Don’t “illuminate” when “brighten” works as well. And, I might add, don’t just write the paper to “get a better grade.” Since you are going to the trouble of writing the paper, why not also try to learn something from the project?
在學術論文中,一個字的重要性取決於如何巧妙運用字本身的意義傳達作者的想法。所謂適宜的單字長度,植基於這個字在讀者心目中造成的回響與共鳴。換句話說,若"big"已足夠表達你的想法,就無須使用“humongous”;若“brighten”已能傳達你的本意,就無須使用 “illuminate”。有句話我想要再次叮嚀,不要以"得到好分數"的目的而寫論文,既然你將要面對寫作的挑戰,何不把它當成是藉由寫論文的過程,可學習一生受用的寫作技巧呢?

Last Update at 2012-04-06 AM 11:02 | 0 Comments

This is not academic writing 學術文章不是這麼寫的

Not all articles written on academic topics are written in proper academic English. In this "This is not academic writing" column we examine short excerpts from academic texts to illustrate common writing errors and explain how to correct them.

Unacceptable 不被認可的文章

“The classic background of many of the early agronomists, including Sanginga and Borlaug, shows the power of book-learning in the schooling of modern soil scientists. Their contributions were not all “by guess and by golly.” Heck no! They leaned on the thinking of 19th-century farmer-scientists and then put in their own ideas. I suspect even the earliest farm thinkers got some of their stuff from somebody else, though what they got didn’t amount to much.”

While the previous paragraph communicates coherently, it violates several recommended principles of academic writing. The “book-learning” phrase is purely colloquial, as is “by guess and by golly.” Such informal and casual phraseology is not appropriate for academic papers. The “heck no!” emotive outburst has no place in rational scholarly writing. “I suspect…” is an inappropriate first-person intrusion into the text and a weak assertion to boot. Finally, several other colloquial phrases—“leaned on the thinking” … “put in their own ideas” … “some of their stuff” … “amount to much”—might be all right for conversation, but they are too imprecise for an academic paper. The original version of the paragraph appears below.
這段文章看似條理分明,事實上已違反許多學術英文的撰寫大忌。 “book-learning”只有口語時才會使用,“by guess and by golly” 也是一樣。不正式與隨性的用語不適合在正式的學術文章出現。抒發情緒的用詞,如“heck no!”,更不可表現在專業、理性的學術性文章中。以第一人稱“I suspect…”為句首切入內文不但不恰當,本句更透露出作者對研究發表主張不堅定的態度。最後,其它口語化的用詞,如 “leaned on the thinking” … “put in their own ideas” … “some of their stuff” … “amount to much” 等等,或許可應用於日常會話,然而,站在學術性文章的角度來說,用詞的技巧實在不夠嚴謹。此段文章編輯潤飾後內容,刊登如下。

Acceptable 認可的文章

“The classic background of many of this century’s agronomists, including Sanginga and Borlaug, highlights the efficacy of formal study in the education of modern soil scientists. Their contributions were not all intuitive. Rather, they incorporated into their thinking the corpus of 19th-century agricultural knowledge before adding incomparably to its mass. Even the earliest recorded agronomic thinkers were derivative, though necessarily from less pure sources.”

Last Update at 2012-04-06 AM 10:31 | 0 Comments

12 Recommendations to Help you Submit a Conventional and Acceptable Paper 12個獲得學術認可的論文撰寫技巧之一

教授學者們通常會規範寫作標準,制定如何撰寫碩博士論文與學術文章以及格式要求。學術界所評定的標準植基於以何種撰寫方式會被認可,何種撰寫方式則會被拒 絕。本專欄提出「12個獲得學術認可的論文撰寫技巧」,幫助你寫出符合規範與認可標準的文章。每一個技巧將陸續公佈於本TPS專頁。
The community of scholars has rules that govern how dissertations, theses and other academic papers are composed and formatted. Academic convention has established what is acceptable and what is not. Following is one of 12 recommendations to help you submit a conventional and acceptable paper. Each tip in the series will appear on the TPS Fans page on successive weeks.

Tip 1 – Choose an appropriate topic

At the university level, scholarly papers are written for other scholars. Therefore, the topic of an academic paper should appeal to a scholar. What appeals to scholars? Ideas. So the central topic of a paper should be an idea, a theory, a concept. Unless your professor assigns you a topic, you must put on your thinking cap and brainstorm an idea to build a paper around.
在大學的學習領域中,學術文章是為了其它學者而寫。因此,學術文章的主題必須成功吸引學者的目光。如何能吸引他們的目光? 用你的想法。也就是說,學術文章的中心主題必須是一個想法,一則理論,或是一個概念。除非你的指導教授給你論文主題,否則你必須靠自己好好思考,腦力激盪出自己的主題,進而圍繞主題寫出文章。

The topic should be relevant. That is, it should add value to a particular academic discipline. Writing about a new French apple for a Chinese literature class will not be well received, regardless of how well you write. A chosen topic should be interesting, but it need not be provocative, or particularly original, though inventive and stimulating topics are welcome.

For example, a mathematics paper might introduce a new theorem stemming from an accepted equation. A humanities paper might offer fresh perspective on a philosophical statement. A business paper might explain a weakness of a retailing model. Sample titles of papers include “Circus Sociology: The Gravitas of a Clown,” and “Architecture: How Tokyo Copied Topeka.”
舉例來說,數理論文一開始可介紹已被社會接受的一組程式而引導出新理論;人文論文可能提出在哲學理論上的一個新看法;商業論文或許是針對零售業經營模式分析其缺點。其它論文參考主題包括:“Circus Sociology: The Gravitas of a Clown” 與 “Architecture: How Tokyo Copied Topeka”。

Unless a professor specifically assigns a report, your paper is expected to be a reasoned argument. Simply compiling and presenting information will not be acceptable. So you should choose a topic with divergent points of view and claim one for yourself. The topic also should be substantial enough to be explored at length without resorting to redundancy and word padding.

Treatment of the topic should be focused. That is, your paper should be limited in scope even if the topic is a universal condition. Example: Write about saving a species of tree on a Pacific island knoll rather than defending the world’s forests against mankind. A finite proposition is more compelling than a sweeping generalization, and a scattershot conclusion never convinces.

To review: The topic of an academic paper should be relevant and interesting. It should contain the seeds of opposing views. It should be complex enough to allow dissection and simple enough to be forceful. It should be narrow and deep in scope. Good luck!

Last Update at 2012-04-06 AM 10:33 | 0 Comments

Professor Pedantic 教授的考究學問

The professor awaits your query on academic writing, though in all honesty, he doesn’t have a lot of time for you. He is a tenured full professor and working on yet another magnificent academic tome. Even so, he has graciously consented to entertain your question. Submit it and prepare to be edified.

QUESTION: "Ember of airy longing, Ache of unbeing, Is your heart not stone? Hour, light, fare well.”
This secondary poem that I read hidden within Fred Chappell's “Narcissus and Echo” contains a potent message, but what does it mean?
「不切實際的渴望,無法存在的痛楚,你的心莫不像石頭一般?別了,時光。」 Fred Chappell 在<納西斯與艾可>詩中隱藏了這第二首詩,我感受到詩中帶有強烈的訊息,請問它的意思是什麼呢?

好的,這個問題,你真的想知道我的回答嗎? 我相信問你問題的文學系教授或是老師會想知道你的答案,而不是聽你最喜歡的TPS教授的答案。不過,時下青年通常會喜歡看林志玲的海報,難得你花時間看Chappell的詩句,非常值得嘉許。我想我能回答你的是:我不知道答案。
Well, that is the question—and you really expect me to answer it? I am quite certain the literature faculty member who asked the question would rather receive your answer than that of your favorite TPS professor. However, on the off chance you actually were reading Chappell’s poetry in your free time instead of ogling a Lin Chiling layout, let me say this: I don’t know.

The truth is, no one really knows the true intent behind the words of poets, unless the poets happen to confess to particular meanings and they hardly ever do. Nor do lyricists “explain” their more obscure lyrics; if you have to ask, a song clearly is not meant for your ears. In the same way, a poem depends upon a reader’s heightened sensibility to complete the artful communication of an emotion or image. Absent such linkage, the words are mere words.

今天,若你問我個人對於這句詩句的”詮釋”,我還是可以回答你。就僅僅從Chappell的作品中另外節錄的詩來看,我感受到回音女神(nymph Echo)的悲傷,由於無法戰勝納西斯(Narcissus)的自戀,更無法得到他的寵愛,她只能藉由不斷重覆納西斯的話以傳達她的真摰與心碎,最後只好傷心的向他告別。這詩句優美且傳神的傳達神話故事的唯美。假設對詩句的解釋,仍然使你無法理解,那麼請你不要難過,畢竟,它的原文是希臘文。
Now, if you are asking for my interpretation of the secondary poem, well, that is something else entirely. I interpret Chappell’s vertical poem on the edge of the main poem to be a lament of the nymph Echo. She cleverly echoes the words of Narcissus in expressing her heartfelt loss at failing to win his affection and to overcome his self-love; sorrowfully, she bids him good-bye. The poem is a delicate and adroit handling of a mythological conversation. If the likely meaning still is unclear to you, well, it is, after all, Greek.

Last Update at 2012-04-06 AM 10:33 | 0 Comments

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