Academic English in the Humanities 3102-LACH
The course is designed for those wishing to improve their academic English. The focus will be on the specific language used in the humanities/social sciences, like anthropology, cultural studies and the like. Although not meant to be a “translatorium”, meaning a practicum in translation from English to Polish, some translating EN/PL/EN will be involved. The students will practice the art of academic debating: asking and answering questions, presenting in brief their own research and this of other scholars, taking a stance in discussions, expressing criticism – and facing it. Most popular expressions and collocations referring to academic intellectual procedures will be systematically collected. They will be picked by the participants themselves when browsing selected texts, authored by scholars active in all the disciplines represented.. The result will be a kind of dictionary – a collection of specialized terms and expressions that might come handy in further scholarly productions of the students.
The consecutive meetings will be devoted to the following issues:
1. Introducing oneself – how to present oneself as a young scholar so to demonstrate professional expertise, to attract attention and get recognition. Some tips on how to introduce an invited guest speaker will also be provided.
2. Voicing your opinion – how to take part in academic discussions: flagging comments, formulating acknowledgments and criticism.
3. Debating with the Giants – listening to university lectures by eminent British and American scholars (available as podcasts via Internet). Unlike a real-life speech, a pre-recorded lecture might get stopped at any time so that the audience might interpret it piece by piece. The students will be practicing their understanding of spoken texts: improving their perception by analyzing utterances, constructing short summaries, coming up with relevant questions, etc.
4. Deep reading – understanding written texts. Fragments of books and articles in English, chosen by the students, will be translated into Polish, so to ensure a full understanding (and rendering) of their linguistic subtleties.
5. “Lost in translation” – learning to pay the unavoidable costs of interpreting. “Traduttore, traditore”, “Przekładanie – przekłamanie” and many other sayings reflect the necessity of compromising when mediating (and that’s the translator’s job) between the source language and the target language.
6. Avoiding ”Translationese” – how not to make typical mistakes of carbon-copying grammatical structures of the source language (ENG) in the target language (PL) when translating written texts.
7. Inventing a good title for a paper, an article and the PhD dissertation. Finding a serious yet attractive title, one catching attention of the reader, is a real challenge. Some guidelines how to achieve it will be offered: making allusions to well-established titles or playing on words as a device to construct a memorable title. Students are expected to bring in and discuss good and bad examples from the literature in their respective fields of study.
8. Looking for words – finding suitable keywords and buzzwords, standard collocations, popular cliché expressions. Building a dictionary of key terms and concepts of a given discipline.
9. Shiboleth, Serendipity and Shangri-La – a specific vocabulary. English abounds in winged words, requiring extra explanations for non-native speakers. Similarly, the language used in any academic discipline has its idiolects, incomprehensive for non-specialists. Some of those specific words used within the humanities will be presented.
10. Writing short texts – grant application or research proposal are a very special genre of academic writing these days, subject to scrutiny and evaluation by various international scholarly and bureaucratic bodies. Hence the need to learn how to produce them (as home assignments, with corrections done in the class).
11. Visiting Academic Arcadias (Oxford, Cambridge…) – presentations and discussions introducing into those unique academic worlds where excellence is surrounded by opulence and historical heritage.
12. Living the life of a college don – our course will end with some personal recollections of the author and of those willing to share their experiences from their international mobility. The presentations should give the students a glimpse into educational systems so different from the one in operation at home.
Type of course
An improved command of the academic English being used in contemporary Anglo-American humanities and social sciences.
An active participation in discussions plus some short oral and written presentations will be expected and assessed.
Texts chosen by the participants and:
Ph. Descola, Beyond nature and culture, Chicago 2013.
M. Holbraad, M.A. Pedersen, The ontological turn. An anthropological exposition, Cambridge 2017
T. Ingold, Lines. A brief history, London-New York 2016.
E. Kohn, How forests think. Toward an anthropology beyond the human, Berkeley 2013.
Additional information (registration calendar, class conductors, localization and schedules of classes), might be available in the USOSweb system: