Language in Research

-- M.F. SALAT –
(Brief Outline of the Talk) 1. Formal and informal languages are different 2. Academic writing differs markedly from Creative writing 3. Correctness AND Appropriateness (Dress Code and Proper Size) are both essential 4. Grammar, punctuation, capitalization – mechanics of writing: correctness required 5. Style, tone, syntax, vocabulary: appropriateness required 6. Other important features include: organization, precision, conciseness, objective/impersonal style 7. Some do’s and don’ts of academic writing: • No contractions • Use passive voice as far as possible • No slang, jargon and colloqualisms • Avoid using "I" or "you”; be impersonal. • Avoid asking questions or using the imperative construction • Avoid sexist language • No abbreviations or acronyms • No exclamatory constructions • No etc. • No unnecessary words such as well, anyway, in my opinion, I think, or you know • Write out/spell out numbers • Avoid clichés • No convoluted constructions • No non-standard expressions 8. Problem Areas a. Grammar: articles, prepositions, tenses, pronouns, connectives b. Vocabulary c. Style d. Narrative linkage e. Organization f. Library skills, bibliography, use of internet Practice makes a wo/man perfect. The best way to learn to write well is to read good writing. “Good writers write in such a way that one can read them aloud and know what they mean. Bad writers have to be studied and re-read and pondered.” (Scot McKnight)

Develop a respect for words and a curiosity about their shades of meaning. Use a dictionary for any word you have doubt on its meaning. Use a thesaurus to “nudge your memory.” (Zinsser, 36)

Examples of Bad Academic Writing
 This, I think, is the feeling of alienation.  While doing so I think I am not against freedom of women. Rather what we have to contemplate upon is …  As, for instance, was the case of studying the Indian situation from Marxist’s point of view. But then there is always a doubt about its effectiveness and legitimacy regarding the application f the term in India. Postcolonial is the term, as I understand, that is more appropriate.  They need our support, sympathetic understanding of their problems and a little more space to breathe freely.  Is this not an emotional outburst pleading for the community?  Does all this make the play ordinary? No. Such plays are meant to be read …  The novel has an undertone of scholarly psychological analysis that frequently shatters into a feeling of accusation.  Henry’s transformation is not sudden and unthinkable. It is the British Empire’s authority that makes him insensible and a ruler.  Now let’s analyze these problems.  We can conclude that this is not the straightforward entertainment stuff from the writer.  The dramatist has used various devices like – mask, music, drums … curtains, fire, light, etc. – very effectively.  She also presents an irritating account of how she suffered injustice.  For him, this play merely is a piece of literature and art. The peculiar qualities of the play such as music and poetry take back seat.  Male society is not ready to accept black women as equally intelligible.   It appears that the playwright wants to sensitize society towards these issues.  Or to put it more bluntly, it is impossible to distort the already existing …  Each one of us can connect oneself with the above narration.  We all know that Anand and Bhattacharya are presenting the evil effects of caste system in India. Other writers also ….  It is very clear that Paravasu is ambitious and wants to challenge Indra. Be equal with God. This indeed a human weakness. How can man compare, challenge, and confront a God? We have to accept the supremacy of God. If we don’t then what is the difference between …?  The emerging of the Theatre of the Absurd.  It is believed that the Theatre of the Absurd is an out come of the the Second World War. A reaction of writers to the destruction caused by the war in Europe.  In 1867 came the second blow as Karl Marx published Das Kapital. This attacked the prevailing ideas …

 The Second World War proved to be the last nail in the coffin. The mental trauma that man had undergone during the war was noticed passionately by the writers of the time.  However, the expression of this condition of man, as expressed by the philosopher was …  Also, during this time, he became interested in theatre. There was a marked revival of ….  The most important turn in Beckett’s life that occurred in Paris was his association to James Joyce. He was heavily influenced by Joyce, which was evident in his early writings.  Brian’s drama, like his novels, developed into a fully interiorized and monologized. Also, he indulged into writing in English after his association the BBC.  Chapter II reflects the writer’s absurd characters and the concrete situations in which they ….  They have a possibility to walk away but cannot take such an opportunity being seemingly deaf to what nature offers ….  This is a clash of body and mind, the will propelling her to life through neverending desires and needs; and a physical body which cannot keep pace …  During the 1940’s with the rise of Hitler in Germany, Fascism in Italy and civil war in Spain, the political conditions of Europe deteriorated alarmingly. However, Beckett, consciously, managed to remain aloof from them. He made no reference to it in his writings. But two years after the fall of Paris in 1940, he joined a secret resistance group. Soon the group was busted and he managed to escape with his wife. The next two and a half years were very lonely and depressing I a small mountain village called ….  Final Solutions is a great drama because his humanism emerges from it like fragrance comes out of flower naturally. Dattani says nothing in person. There is no room for the dramatist to stand in drama. Yet there is no ambiguity in his message.  Javed probably is reminded of the bell he used to listen when he was a child. Bobby thinks this is an opportunity to teach a lesson to Javed and Aruna. He hits upon a bold and instructive action ….  Then what is all this hype about? What does Karnad propose? And if there is a problem of extra-marital relations, what is Karnad’s solution to that?  Moreover, it is very clear that marriage does not only mean living together. In fact, it is a vow for fidelity. So any sort of extra-marital relation means cheating the other one. Karnad does not bring to notice this serious issue also. So it is a doubtful matter whether we can consider this as a serious writing.  This play is not only about the bhakti movement. In fact it is about the failure of it. It is about the inevitability of the varna system in our society.  The playwright probably wants us to understand and therefore respect them.  The abandonment of realism in this play takes us to a world that appears to be weird and even metaphysical.

 The long speech towards the end of the play is very moving. It projects the irony, apathy, and humiliating condition of the black people.  It has a neat structure, effective use of language, swift movement of scenes, and wonderful swaying of emotions. The play proves that even those who are not involved with literature full time can also produce such beautiful piece. In fact, it shows the clinical finished project from a man of industry and management.

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