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ERIC Number: ED442099
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Apr-14
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Dynamic and Synoptic Styles, Kinds of Semiotic Practices, and Learning To Write in the Disciplines.
Vande Kopple, William J.
A researcher examined the numbers of relative clauses and the percentages of subordinate clauses that relative clauses comprise in two sets of research reports (one set from the period 1893-1901 and the other from 1980) about spectroscopy from the "Physical Review." He analyzed some striking differences between the sets in patterns of what the relative clauses modify and also uncovered some evidence pointing to a general stylistic shift from the first set to the second. The shift of interest is between what M.A.K. Halliday calls the dynamic style and what he calls the synoptic style. When Halliday examines different linguistic styles or modes of representing experience, he uses a continuum. At one pole of this continuum is a style he calls dynamic, often associated with spontaneous and unselfconscious speech; at the other end of Halliday's continuum is the synoptic style, often associated with carefully planned, formal writing. The suspicion that a stylistic shift from dynamic to synoptic could have occurred from the first set of reports to the second arose when it was noticed that the first set contained numerous sentences displaying great causal intricacy, while the second set contained numerous sentences displaying great lexical density. An examination of various stylistic traits showed differences which point to a more clausally intricate style in the early articles and a more lexically dense style in the later articles. In light of the potential advantages of the synoptic style for specialists within a research area, it appears that a shift to this style in the history of writing about spectroscopy could have been highly motivated. If teachers and scholars reach a consensus about whether or not to teach the synoptic style, they might also discuss what the best way for doing so might be. (Contains 21 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A